Given that death is inevitable and one of the most profound human experiences, it is imperative that future healthcare professionals are provided with training in care for the terminally ill. The experiences of death, grief and bereavement are unique to each individual but also influenced and dependent on a number of sociocultural factors and historical events. Such factors, directly and indirectly, determine the manner by which we deliver end-of-life care. The study unit introduces the palliative care approach to contemporary end-of-life care and provides an opportunity for you to explore your own beliefs and attitudes towards death and dying. Palliative care is defined by WHO as:   

an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual’’. 

Aims & Objectives  


This study unit aims at providing you with an opportunity to reflect and explore your own beliefs, attitudes and values on death and dying. Furthermore, it also aims to provide you with an opportunity to foster the knowledge and skills that are required to deliver humane and compassionate care to terminally-ill patients and their loved ones. It also intends to cultivate skills that will enable you to discuss critically ethical issues that arise in end-of-life care.  

Learning Outcomes 


By the end of this study unit you should be able to: 


  • Demonstrate an understanding of the core principles of palliative care. 

  • Demonstrate self-awareness of one's own believes and attitudes to death and how these are influenced by personal experience, knowledge, and sociocultural factors.

  • To demonstrate knowledge and awareness on the nature of loss, grief and bereavement.   

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the various symptoms that are experienced by patients and methods of symptom control. 

  • To demonstrate knowledge on the importance and different means of communication in end-of-life care.

  • To demonstrate an understanding of the complex and delicate nature of ethical issues that may present at end-of-life  


  • To deliver humane and compassionate end-of-life care. 

  • To practice self-reflexivity and determine how your own attitudes, believes and values towards death affect your caregiving to the terminally ill and their loved ones.  

  • To provide emotional and psychological support to patients and their loved ones dealing with loss, grief and bereavement. 

  • To participate and provide relief from symptoms that are experienced by terminally ill patients. 

  • Be able to engage in end-of-life discussions with patients and their family members and to communicate their needs with other members of the multidisciplinary team. 

  • To be able to critically analyze and discuss end-of-life ethical and legal issues from a number of different perspectives.

Course Format

This module is delivered 100% online. It will consist of two zoom lectures, one delivered on the 2nd of March from 8:30am until noon and the second lecture on April 30th also from 8:30am till noon. Between the 2nd of March and 30th of April, you are to complete 5 tasks that address 5 important topics in palliative care. These include:

1) Death and Dying

2) Loss, Grief and Bereavement

3) Symptom Control

4) Communication &

5) Ethical Issues

The tasks are aimed to engage and enhance both your cognitive and affective dimensions as learners and to encourage the use of creativity.

The first lecture of the course will provide an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to each other and to give you an overview of the online module. Furthermore, adult palliative care will be introduced, along with a number of core aspects that are crucial to your personal and professional growth. The second lecture will be dedicated to in depth discussion of the issues addressed in the online tasks. Time will also be allocated for you to discuss any queries or issues relating to the topic of adult palliative care nursing. 

You are encouraged to keep video cameras on during the lecture. Discussion is an integral part of the online lectures. So don't be shy and feel free to share what is on your mind! 

Nota Bene! Teade! обратите внимание! 

It is understandable that this topic is sensitive and may elicit a range of emotions some of which may be of delicate nature. Should such feelings become too overwhelming, you are encouraged to approach the main lecturer Kurt Cassar or Marianne Annion.