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Applying psychosocial, culture, spiritual and ethical issues to palliative and end of life care 7MRSAC24

Key information

Subject area:

Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care

Course type:

Assessed Module

Credit level:


Credit value:



2 weeks

Available course dates:

To be confirmed

Course overview

This module aims to critically examine the psychosocial, cultural, ethical and spiritual issues relevant to patients and families/carers in palliative and end-of-life care, providing course participants with the skills to apply them in clinical practice.

Participants will consider how these psychosocial, cultural and ethical spiritual issues affect patients and their families and what strategies can be developed to effectively provide help, including the development of psychosocial interventions and their evaluation.  Training in communication skills will also be provided.  The primary ethical debates in palliative care including, truth-telling and communication, cultural relativism, nutrition and hydration, and physician-assisted suicide /dying are also considered.

What does this course cover?

By the end of the module, you should:

  1. Possess a detailed knowledge and understanding of common psychosocial, cultural and ethical issues relevant to palliative and end-of-life care and how these impact patients and their families.
  2. Develop an in-depth theoretical and practical understanding of communicating skills relevant to patients living with life-limiting conditions and their families.
  3. Be able to recognise and respond to the needs of different cultural groups and needs within different cultures
  4. Be able to recognise how psychosocial, spiritual and cultural issues affect other aspects of care, such as the management of symptoms and the experience and expression of grief.
  5. Possess the knowledge and skills to both appraise existing psychosocial interventions and to develop and evaluate new interventions.
  6. Be able to understand, critically reflect on, consider and debate common ethical issues in palliative and end-of-life care, recognising how cultural backgrounds will influence ethical conversations and decision-making.

What will I achieve?

  • This module focuses on the psychosocial, cultural, ethical and spiritual issues concerning patients and families/carers in palliative and end-of-life care. Students will become confident in relation to each element of the module and be able to communicate these skills to colleagues and practically employ them for the benefit of patients, family members and internal/external stakeholders.
  • Students will develop confidence in communication skills, enabling complex/difficult conversations to be held with patients and family members and communicate these to colleagues and others clearly and effectively.
  • Recognition of cultural issues at the end of life, which draws upon issues of ethics, spirituality, communication and psychosocial needs will be integrated across the module to develop the learning for students around culture as an important driver and consideration for patient decision-making at the end of life.
  • Although taught sessions will be topic-based, students will be expected to use their critical faculties to draw on learning from other sessions within the module/overall MSc and integrate aspects of these sessions into them. This will enable them to build on learning gained to develop deeper insights into the psychosocial support required by patients and their families and how to appraise/develop/evaluate interventions to address these issues. 

Who is this for?

Qualified healthcare professionals

How will I be assessed?

3,000-word assignment

What is the teaching schedule?

15th January - 26th January 2024

Further information

The module is only available to external applicants and not available to students currently enrolled at King’s on another programme.