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Death and dying

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This is an exciting and revolutionary course in which you’ll engage with real issues based on the experiences of dying people, bereaved people, those who work with them, and their carers, both lay and professional.  This course will be of interest for anyone who works with dying people and their families or students who want to find out more about death, dying and bereavement, and what these mean in different contexts.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£865.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

This fascinating course is underpinned by the following key themes:

  • difference and diversity in attitudes and responses to death, dying, disposal and bereavement
  • the rhetoric and reality of end-of-life care, and the limitations of care resources
  • the extent to which death, dying and bereavement have become medicalised and professionalised
  • the ethical nature of end-of -life decisions
  • the social dimensions that impact upon experiences at the time of death and afterwards.

The course is divided into four blocks and the units in each block are equal to one week of study.

In Block 1– The social context of death and dying  you will consider how views of death have changed over time and the ways in which contemporary Western societies view and respond to death and dying. Central to this exploration is the extent to which public views and private experiences are in a dynamic relationship with each other. The rate, cause and place of death are illustrated through individual accounts that highlight the realities beneath the statistics for both service users and providers.

In Block 2 – End-of-life care in context  you will explore the ways in which the hospice movement has achieved its goals in providing good quality end-of-life care to all who need it and the challenges to this goal. You will also consider where care takes place and the role of carers in providing end-of-life care at home. The block also offers a critique of the theories that underpin communication and considers its central role at the end of life and after death.

Block 3 – The contexts of grief and bereavement keeps bereavement and mourning practices as its central theme to examine grief in different contexts. The block begins with a critique of theories of grief and moves on to explore experiences of individual and collective grief before considering the ways in which death is memorialised and commemorated and how this in turn contributes to the way that death is framed in society.

Block 4 – The ethical context of death and dying takes an ethical view of many of the decisions that face people at the end of life. You will be introduced to ethical theories that play a significant role in these decisions and consider adults’ and children’s rights at the end of life. As with the previous three blocks the study material is enriched by experiential case studies that provide the real context in which you can explore such issues and challenges.

The relevance of these ideas to reality is central to this course.

Entry

The course does not assume that you have done any study or had any experience beyond that which we all have in our lives: exposure to death, dying and bereavement. Our Level 1 course An introduction to health and social care (K101) would be ideal preparation.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

On a more personal level, the course authors and tutors are greatly concerned to support students in sensitive aspects of the subject of death and dying, but please remember that your tutor is not there to help you with bereavement. The course cannot fulfil that function, though we hope that this will not deter dying or bereaved people from taking the course.

Preparatory work

You will receive guidance of how to get started online in your first course mailing. This will provide you with information on using your computer for OU study and working with the Computing Guide. For example, it explains how to access and use your website and online discussion forums. If you have time before the course starts, you can work through this and explore all the online services available to you.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. The printed study material is available in a comb-bound format and in the DAISY Digital Talking Book format. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Course books, other printed materials, a DVD and CDs. You will have access to a website through which teaching and library resources are available. Electronic versions of most of the printed study materials are provided on the website.

You will need

A DVD/CD player.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Earle, S, Komaromy, C & Bartholomew, C (eds) Death and Dying: A Reader, Sage £24.99 - ISBN 9781847875105
  • Earle, S, Bartholomew, C & Komaromy, C (eds) Making Sense of Death, Dying and Bereavement: An Anthology, Sage £23.99 - ISBN 9781847875129

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course. Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) must be submitted online. Assessment is an essential part of the teaching, so you are expected to complete it all.

Professional recognition

This course can make a significant contribution to the continuing professional development of nursing practitioners. This is also one of a set of modules that together constitute an approved programme that leads to a DipSW qualification or our social work degrees. It may also help you to gain recognition from a professional body. This course has been mapped against the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework. It has also been mapped to the Core Competencies for End of Life Care which support the National End of Life Care Strategy.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“Loved the module had a very good tutor which helped. The final EMA was a very good topic which covered ...”
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“A very interesting course not for the faint hearted. Lots of reading to do. Enjoyed the course though and a ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code K260
Credits 30
OU Level 2
SCQF level 8
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

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