MSc Integrated Palliative and End of Life Care

Join a programme for frontline healthcare staff which enables you to deliver palliative and end-of-life care, engages you in research-led service improvements, and immerses you in an interactive virtual community of fictional patients.

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  • Overview

    Course Length: 1 Year Full-Time, 2.25-4.5 Years Part-Time
    Start Dates: September 2020, February 2021, September 2021, February 2022
    Subjects: Health and Social Care
    Location: Edge Hill University
    Terence Burgess Education Centre, Southport

    Subject to validation.

    • Join a programme for frontline healthcare staff which enables you to confidently and effectively deliver individualised palliative and end-of-life care for people with advanced, progressive and terminal illnesses;
    • Gain skills in clinical education research and undertake an advanced practice project to deliver service improvement in palliative and end of life care;
    • Immerse yourself in an interactive virtual community of families and contribute to discussions which place the patient and family at the centre of palliative and end-of-life care planning.

    This programme is designed to make palliative and end-of-life care real, meaningful and accessible for all frontline clinical staff. The programme is suitable for nurses (community, hospital, nursing home, hospice), health and social care practitioners, allied health professionals, paramedics and doctors (GPs, specialist doctors and doctors in training). You will gain enhanced knowledge, confidence and competence in assessing the palliative and end-of-life care needs of patients and their families, with a particular focus on transforming end-of-life communication and the psychology of spiritual care and positive emotion. The impact in different disease trajectories will be explored, looking for similarities and differences and seeing how these might be managed. In addition, you will learn how to manage symptoms and address concerns arising across the four domains of holistic care (physical, psychological, spiritual and social), consider the ethical and legal aspects of care, and undertake an advanced practice project, underpinned by a detailed understanding of clinical education research.

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    In Depth

    What will I study?

    The programme introduces you to the philosophy, principles and national drivers of palliative care, assessment and symptom management.

    You will study the trajectories of end-of-life care in a variety of diseases and conditions, examine holistic care from a physical, psychological, spiritual and social perspective, and gain skills and knowledge in both supporting family carers and providing bereavement support.

    In addition, you will focus on the delivery of palliative care through enhanced communication skills, future advance care planning and the management of complex medicines. You will also discover major debates in clinical education research and lead, implement and evaluate a service improvement project within a health and social care setting.

    Two additional, optional modules will be selected from the wider faculty portfolio.

    How will I study?

    The three core modules are delivered at the Terence Burgess Education Centre in Southport. Attendance is typically one half-day per week with an additional full introductory day at the start of each module and a further full revision day at the end. The remaining modules are delivered at Edge Hill University and contact hours will vary depending on your module choice.

    Blended learning is encouraged as part of the learning process and includes a substantial amount of material available via our virtual learning environment.

    As part of these online activities, you will be exposed to a variety of end-of-life care challenges faced by the residents of a virtual community of families. You will be expected to contribute to web-based discussions with your peers about the relevant care required by members of this virtual interactive community.

    How will I be assessed?

    Assessment methods vary according to the demands of each module and include written assignments, designing a teaching pack, Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs), portfolios, seminar presentations and work-based learning projects.

    Who will be teaching me?

    You will be taught by specialist palliative care and palliative medicine staff who have experience working in a specialist palliative care unit and across healthcare settings. The expertise of the programme team will be supplemented by guest lecturers who have specialist interests in end of life care.

    A Great Study Environment

    Terence Burgess Education Centre

    Terence Burgess Education Centre is a purpose-built teaching hub based at Queenscourt Hospice in Southport. It is equipped with audio-visual facilities and a small palliative care reference library. The library contains a variety of books, journals and videos relevant to palliative care.

    Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine

    The Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine is one of the leading providers of education and training for health and social care professionals in the North West of England.

    Offering some of the best facilities for health, social care and medicine students in the country, the outstanding teaching and learning resources include leading edge clinical skills facilities, an 860-seat lecture theatre, and a variety of teaching rooms and social learning spaces.

    The faculty is home to a thriving research culture which includes a series of staff and student conference programmes, guest lectures and seminars, as well as active research groups.


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    CPD7001Research and Clinical Education (20 credits)

    Research and Clinical Education focuses on the generation, development and application of research within the area of clinical education. While not a generic ‘research methods’ module, it covers major debates within the research area, various approaches to research and evidence-based practice, and some of the major research methods which are employed in the study of clinical and professional education. You will learn to critically appraise research findings in clinical and professional education and how they affect practice. The module also helps you to plan and develop research inquiries of your own or initiate joint research projects with other clinical practitioners.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HEA4002Advanced Practice Project (60 credits)

    Advanced Practice Project challenges you to explore how to lead, implement and evaluate a service improvement project within a health and social care setting. This will involve either working with other professionals within your practice area to identify, plan and implement a small-scale project that is directed at promoting service improvement or developing a business case for a project designed to improve the quality of care.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HEA4197Transforming Integrated Palliative and End of Life Care (20 credits)

    Transforming Integrated Palliative and End of Life Care enhances your skills and knowledge in understanding the signs, trajectories and impact of advanced progressive disease. The focus of the module is on symptom assessment and management, care planning, future care planning, and communication skills. You will learn how to recognise when individuals are approaching the end of life, discussing prognosis, involving the individual in shared decision-making about their care, and managing their transition to a positive palliative care approach. Attention will also be paid to the importance of ethics related to living the last months of life and spiritual assessment and care. Additionally, support for carers and those who have been bereaved will be highlighted.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HEA4219Transforming End of Life Trajectories (20 credits)

    Transforming End of Life Trajectories enhances your skills and knowledge in understanding the similarities and differences in trajectories and impact of advanced progressive illness in malignant and non-malignant disease. The module focuses specifically on different individual disease trajectories, for example frailty, dementia and organ failure (including heart, renal and respiratory) and sudden unexpected death, while also considering the impact of multiple comorbidities, frailty and dementia. Some end-of-life trajectories result in unresolved symptoms and hidden psychological distress because neither the approach towards dying nor symptoms are recognised. This module will introduce you to the holistic care needed to provide effective care for this group of patients and their families.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HEA4252Transforming End of Life Communication and Spiritual Care (20 credits)

    Transforming End of Life Communication and Spiritual Care explores the psychology of spirituality, the individual meaning of life, and the impact of positive emotion for individuals. The module addresses the recognition and differentiation of the causes of distress – physical, psychological, emotional, social, spiritual, religious and cultural – as observed by health, social and pastoral workers. You will investigate the parallel possible outcomes of stress-related illness and stress-related growth as responses to irreversible and unresolvable distressing situations and consider the ways in which health, social and pastoral workers can affect and impact these outcomes. Reviewing the tools and narrative for enquiring about spiritual distress, the module will focus on the challenges to such assessment, consider how to plan for spiritual care in a health care setting, and explore the similarities and differences of spiritual needs for those with and without religious and health beliefs. The need for good communication is a key focus of the module and you will learn how to recognise facilitative skills and blocking behaviours and consider the importance of cue-based and person-centred conversations and the value of silence.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    You will select two 20 credit optional modules, negotiated with the programme leader, chosen from the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine’s CPD portfolio.

    For more information about each module, including the dates and times of module sessions, please visit


    You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.

    All successful applicants will have an academic meeting prior to the commencement of the programme where the programme structure will be explained to enable you to gain a greater understanding of module order, course content and assessment requirements.


    Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

    Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of accrediting bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

    Entry Criteria

    Entry Requirements

    The normal minimum requirement is a degree equivalent to UK first-class or second-class honours (2:2 or above) in a health or social care related subject. Other subjects may be considered subject to a successful interview. You must be currently working in a health care setting.

    If you have a minimum of five years’ experience working within health and social care and are able to demonstrate evidence of relevant continuous professional development, you may be able to access the programme without a degree, subject to a successful interview.

    Recognition of Prior Learning

    Edge Hill University recognises learning gained elsewhere, whether through academic credit and qualifications acquired from other relevant courses of study or through recognition of an individual’s professional and employment experience (also referred to as ‘experiential learning’). This may include credit or learning undertaken at another university.

    Previous learning that is recognised in this way may be used towards meeting the entry requirements for a programme and/or for exemption from part of a programme. It is your responsibility to make a claim for recognition of prior learning. For guidance, please consult the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy and contact the faculty in which you are interested in studying.

    Career Prospects

    What are my career prospects?

    Upon successful completion of the programme you will have the knowledge required to provide effective support to patients, their families and other health professionals in managing end-of-life care.

    The course is designed to enhance your employability through developing your critical care skills and leadership qualities and encouraging you to explore new ways of working within health and social settings. You will gain experience of raising awareness of the holistic and existential issues facing patients and their loved ones and develop the skills to deal with challenging communication.

    You will also be expected to demonstrate knowledge across disciplines, being both attuned to cultural diversity and aware of your professional responsibilities and limitations.


    Tuition Fees

    Tuition fees for studying on this MSc are currently charged on a modular basis.

    If you are a UK or EU student joining the programme in academic year 2020/21, the cost of each module will be:

    • HEA4197 Transforming Integrated and Palliative End of Life Care (20 credits) – £880;
    • HEA4219 Transforming End of Life Trajectories (20 credits) – £880;
    • HEA 4252 Transforming End of Life Communication and Spiritual Care (20 credits) – tuition fees for this module are still to be announced;
    • Additional Modules Selected from the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine’s CPD Portfolio (40 credits) – £34 per credit, i.e. £680 per 20 credit module.

    The University may administer a small inflationary rise in part-time postgraduate tuition fees in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

    Financial Support

    For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK and EU students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University in academic year 2020/21, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2020/21 guide at


    How to Apply

    This is a new course currently in development. Applications for this programme will open once the validation process has been completed. Please keep checking this page for updates.

    Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

    Get in Touch

    If you have any questions about this programme, please contact:

    • Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine Student Recruitment and Marketing Support Team
    • Tel: 01695 657249
    • Email:

    If you would like to talk to the programme leaders about the course in more detail, please contact:


    Course Changes

    Expand All This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years.

    This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years. No material changes have been made to the information for this programme in that time. Any future amends will be tracked here.