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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Palliative Care
Module Code NS342
School 38
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Eileen Courtney
Semester 2: Eileen Courtney
Autumn: Eileen Courtney
Module TeachersEileen Courtney
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this module it to explore nursing issues related to palliative and terminal care in life-limiting illness. The module will explore the psychological, spiritual and social aspects of caring for patients with life-limiting illness and their families; the physical care of a person approaching the end-of-life including the management of common symptoms; and the ethical issues that can arise in end-of-life care. Theories of grief and bereavement and their application to practice are explored.

Learning Outcomes

1. Identify the scope of palliative nursing practice and explore its unique characteristics in relation to caring for people with life-limiting and terminal illness.
2. Discuss the complex psychosocial and physical needs of people requiring palliative care and their carers and the management of these needs.
3. Provide appropriate, evidence-based nursing care to in the terminal stage of illness.
4. Provide appropriate, evidence-based supportive care to bereaved carers / families.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Independent Study91Time spent reviewing lecture content, sourcing & reading articles and books.
Total Workload: 115

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Evolution, Philosophy and Principles of Palliative Care.
Exploration of the history and development of palliative care and the principles underlying the palliative care approach. Social and cultural considerations in relation to death and dying are considered.

Impact of Life-Limiting Illness: Physical, Psychological, Social and Emotional Factors.
Exploration of the impact of a diagnosis of life-limiting or terminal illness on the individual and their family including the array of emotional responses that can occur and the enormity of the adaptive process, and the relationship between psychological distress and physical suffering.

Care of the Actively Dying Patient
Management of complex symptoms including: pain, dyspnoea, delirium, restlessness and agitation. Legal and ethical issues in end-of-life care.

Loss, Grief and Bereavement.
Theories of loss and grief. Dealing with bereaved relatives

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Essay2,000 literature review in which the student must explore a designated aspect of palliative care that is relevant to the population they work with.100%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Brown, E. Warr, B.: 2007, Supporting the Child and the Family in Paediatric Palliative Care., Jessica Kingsley Publishers., London,
  • Chochinov, H. Breitbart, W. eds.: 2012, Handbook of Psychiatry in Palliative Medicine., 2nd., Oxford University Press., New York,
  • Ferrell, B. Coyle, N.: 2019, Oxford Textbook of Palliative Nursing, 5th, Oxford University Press, New York,
  • Cherney N. Fallon M. Kassa S. Portenoy R. Currow D. eds.: 2018, Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, 5th., Oxford University Press, Oxford.,
  • Walshe C. Preston N. Johnston B.: 2018, Palliative Care Nursing: Principles and Evidence for Practice, 3rd., Open University Press., Maidenhead,
  • Irish Hospice Foundation: 2008, Palliative Care for All: Integrating Palliative Care into Disease Management Frameworks, Irish Hospice Foundation and Health Services Executive, Dublin,
  • Lawton J.: 2000, The Dying Process: Patients' Experiences of Palliative Care., Routledge, London,
  • Saunders, C.: 2006, Cicely Saunders: Selected Writings 1958-2004, Oxford Universit Press, Oxford,
  • Nichol J. Nyatnga B.: 2017, Palliative and End of Life Care in Nursing, Sage, Exeter, United Kingdom.,
  • Corke C.: 2018, Letting Go : How to Plan for a Good Death, Scribe Publications, Carlton North,
  • Goldhirsch, S.: 2014, Geriatric Palliative Care, Oxford University Press, New York,
  • Dickman, A.: 2012, Drugs in Palliative Care, 2nd, Oxford University Press, New York,
  • Czarnecki M. Turner H. eds: 2017, Core Curriculum for Pain Management Nursing, 3rd, Elsevier, St Louis,
  • Freeman B.: 2015, Compassionate person-centered care for the dying: an evidence-based palliative care guide for nurses, Springer, New York,
Other Resources

59983, Website, Weafer, J., 2016, A perspective on advance planning for end-of-life: an exploration of contemporary developments concerning the concept and practice of advance planning, advance care planning and advance healthcare directives, Dublin, Irish Hospice Foundation, http://hospicefoundation.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/IHF-Perspectives-4-A-Perspective-on-Advance-Planning-for-end-of-life.pdf, 59984, Website, HSE, 2014, Palliative Care Competence Framework, Dublin, Health Service Executive Palliative Care Competence Framework Steering Group, https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/clinical-strategy-and-programmes/palliative-care-framework-document.pdf, 59985, Website, HSE, 2014, Report of the First National Palliative Care Support Bed Review, Dublin, Health Services Executive, https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/clinical-strategy-and-programmes/palliative-care-framework-document.pdf, 59986, Website, Dept Health and Children, 2009, Palliative Care for Children with Life-Limiting Conditions in Ireland: a National Policy, Dublin, Dept Health and Children, https://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/palliative_care_en.pdf, 59987, Website, IHF, 2011, Primary Palliative Care in Ireland, Dublin, Irish Hospice Foundation, https://hospicefoundation.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Primary-Palliative-Care-in-Ireland.pdf,
Programme or List of Programmes
BNGNBSc in Nursing (General)
BNIDBSc in Nursing (Intellectual Disability)
BNPYBSc in Nursing (Mental Health)

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