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Transforming End of Life Communication & Spiritual Care HEA4252


The module will consider the evidence supporting the need for, and impact of, excellence in communication in healthcare. It will review the evidence for communication skills training and track its development within the NHS and modern healthcare.

The module will explore the psychology of spirituality, individual meaning of life, and the impact of positive emotion for individuals. It will address 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 and consider the interventions which may be undertaken to address it.

This module will support learners to scaffold previous communication skills to a deeper level necessary to become a subject expert in palliative and end of life care. This module is specifically examining challenging communication within palliative and end of life care and one of those particularly challenging areas is spiritual distress.

This module can be studied standalone. For those undertaking the PGCert or MSc Integrated Palliative & End of Life Care this is the preferred, although order not essential, third core module and develops the skills and knowledge already gained in previous modules.

Module code: HEA4252
Level: 7
Credits: 20
Cost: £880 for September 2022 to July 2023

Who is this module for?

This module is aimed at frontline health, social & pastoral care staff in all healthcare settings, providing generalist or specialist palliative and end of life care, to enhance skills and knowledge of the important, but often unacknowledged, spiritual and communication elements of holistic care.

What are the key aims of the programme?

This module aims to provide enhanced communication skills, knowledge and understanding for health and social care professionals, equipping them to provide optimal palliative and end of life care for patients and those important to them, based upon the current evidence:- Provide optimal communication and spiritual care provision for individuals with advanced progressive and terminal illness, through the course of the illness and towards the end of life. Ensure a team approach in providing optimal holistic individual palliative and end of life care for individuals and those important to them, during the illness and following the death, based on current evidence.

How will I study?

Regular weekly face to face teaching including lectures, interactive workshops, group work, simulation and peer presentations. Regular weekly online activities in which students are expected to take part. Regular group tutorial time and each student is entitled to 1 hour of individual tutorial time. Individual study, reading and preparation for sessions. Hybrid learning is an educational approach where some individuals participate in-person and some participate synchronously online. The tutor delivers the session in the classroom and teaches the remote and in-person learners at the same time using virtual technology so all the students are taught together in 'real time'. The course you are about to undertake uses a hybrid model. This means that some of the group may be online (Zoom) and some in person, for part or all of the module.

What Will I Study?

• Evidence for communication skills training • Analysis of conversations and skills employed • Advanced communication skills • Positive psychology • Meaning of life for those facing loss • Difference between spirituality & religion • Assessment of spiritual & religious distress • Spiritual care interventions • Importance of self care

How will I be assessed?

Students will have the opportunity to undertake informal peer presentations, case discussions, simulated/role play conversations, peer review and feedback during their study to prepare them for the summative assessment. The summative assessment is a critical analysis of a simulated conversation with a spiritually distressed patient/relative and accompanying critical appraisal of the communication skills needed, the spiritual needs identified and the spiritual care required. Notional 4,000 words.

On successful completion you will:

• Critically examine the importance and value of accompaniment of, and communication with, patient, family and staff through the patient’s journey and into bereavement. • Critically appraise the advanced communication skills expected for senior experienced clinicians. • Critically analyse the skills needed to address spiritual distress.

Study dates and venues

Venue: Online Study

Starts: Wednesday 8 February 2023

Session times:

  • 8 February 2023, 9.30am-4.30pm
  • 15 February 2023, 12.30pm-5pm
  • 22 February 2023, 12.30am-5pm
  • 1 March 2023, 12.30am-5pm
  • 8 March 2023, 12.30am-5pm
  • 15 March 2023, 9.30am-5pm
  • 22 March 2023, 9.30am-5pm
  • 29 March 2023, 12.30pm-5pm
  • 5 April 2023, 12.30pm-5pm
  • 19 April 2023, 12.30pm-5pm
  • 26 April 2023, 12.30pm-5pm
  • 10 May 2023, 9.30am-4.30pm
  • 30 May 2023, final assessment

Further Information

Module availability varies from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Due to the popularity of some modules it may be that the module is fully booked when your application is received. We will include your details on a waiting list and allocate you a place on the next available intake. We encourage you to apply as early as possible to give you the best chance to obtain a place on your preferred cohort, module applications will close as soon as the module is full. Applications received within two weeks of the start date may have to be considered for a later cohort. For details of how to apply, please visit the apply page. This module will take place at the Terence Burgess Education Centre at Queenscourt Hospice, Southport.For further module information, please contact the Module Leads Dr Karen Groves : email [email protected] Barbara Jack : email [email protected] Enquiries email [email protected]


This module can be taken as standalone or is a core module for:
  • PGCert Integrated Palliative and End of Life Care
  • MSc Integrated Palliative and End of Life Care
  • This module can be an optional module for:
  • MSc Leadership Development
  • MSc Advanced Clinical Practice