University of Technology Sydney

93223 Nursing Care of the Older Person

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


In this subject students explore the foundational principles and practice of person-centred nursing care of the older person in a variety of health care contexts. Students explore the normal ageing process and the diseases and dysfunctions that can occur in older age. The provision of quality care to the older person with multiple physical, social and psychological co-morbidities is emphasised. Students gain skills in undertaking comprehensive health assessments of older persons and gain an understanding of interprofessional approaches to care. Students continue to develop nursing skills specifically in relation to wound care, continence and bowel management, enteral supports, and end-of-life care. Students develop an understanding of The Aged Care Standards and how they relate to their nursing practice, with reference to the recent Royal Commission in to the Aged Care Quality and Safety. Through the provision of interactive online modules, collaborative laboratory activities and lectures provided by industry experts, this subject encourages students to engage with this important area of health care.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Determine the processes of and supports for healthy ageing in contemporary Australian society using a health promotion framework
B. Undertake comprehensive person-centred social and health assessments, care planning and interventions for the older person based on foundational gerontological knowledge and skills
C. Identify the implications of chronic and/or life limiting illness for the older person and their family, the impact of multiple co-morbidities and the role of the nurse in enabling optimal care
D. Explain the nature and scope of a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach to the continuity of care of the older person, across varied healthcare contexts
E. Develop and demonstrate nursing knowledge through reading, questioning and synthesising relevant professional and scholarly evidence, including government legislation and policies and apply such evidence to nursing practice, writing in a style appropriate to purpose and context
F. Practice appropriate NMBA clinical competencies including the ability to communicate in English with patients and staff in the clinical placement environment

Teaching and learning strategies

Each 6-unit subject requires at least 140 hours of work (including face-to-face and self-directed learning activities) to successfully complete academic requirements.

In this subject, students will participate in a range of teaching and learning strategies that are designed to encourage you to engage with nursing care of adults in an acute care clinical setting.

Online lectures are provided to enable students to clarify, discuss and develop subject concepts.

Clinical skills, collaboration, communication and simulation
Students participate in clinical laboratory sessions that focus on integration of key concepts and skills. In these sessions, students are introduced to a range of nursing skills, including assessment and interventions and simulation activities. Simulation activities are practical learning experiences designed to give students exposure to a range of scenarios that may be encountered in practice. Activities include the use of audio-visual aids and clinical equipment set-ups with mannequins, teaching staff or students as simulated patients/consumers. Students learn and practice clinical and interpersonal skills in groups with case scenarios in the laboratories. These practice scenarios incorporate the development of professional communication skills including professional and therapeutic communication required for nursing practice. Students are provided feedback and with the opportunity to collaborate and develop skills to work effectively as a team member.

Patient stories and clinical case scenarios
Cases are used to help students explore health related scenarios. Cases depict patients/consumers and their families in an acute care surgical setting. Students use these scenarios to learn concepts, interpret information, form clinical judgements and develop creative solutions. Critical thinking is developed through analysis, interpretation of and reflection on issues or situations.

Content (topics)

Healthy ageing in a range of contexts within Australian society including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health, transition through health, illness and death; advance care planning/directives; achieving quality of life; poly-pharmacy in health maintenance; carer support; mental health issues.
  • Healthy ageing and ill health including: normal ageing processes; alteration to functional health patterns; continence; cognitive dysfunction; dementia, delirium and depression; co-morbidity and chronicity; disease and disability.
  • Comprehensive, person centred, social and health assessment using strengths based approach for care planning including: comprehensive history taking; functional assessments; person centred care planning, nursing intervention and care delivery.
  • Interprofessional approaches to the continuity of care within varied health care contexts including: collaborative care across the health professions, community care, transitional care, acute care, rehabilitation, differing levels residential aged care, accommodating different ethnic groups and cultural expectations in residential aged care.
  • Clinical skills including: wound management (including complex wounds); wound packing and/or removal; medication administration via an enteral tube; bladder scan; nasogastric tube insertion suction and feeding; enteral feeds.
  • Specific skills including the following:

Personal care:

  • Assisted ambulation
  • Hygiene: bed making
  • Hygiene: shower/bath
  • Hygiene: bed bath
  • Hygiene: oral care
  • Skin integrity: positioning
  • Skin integrity: assessment
  • Skin integrity: pressure area care
  • Nutrition and feeding
  • Feeding a dependent patient
  • Enteral feeding
  • Elimination: continence management
  • Elimination: indwelling catheter care
  • Elimination: supra-pubic catheter care
  • Elimination: bowel care

Clinical communication and documentation:

  • Therapeutic and communication
  • Admission
  • Clinical handover
  • Care planning
  • Recording vital signs
  • Recording fluid intake/output
  • Using and maintaining patient records
  • Communicating clinical reasoning
  • Interprofessional communication
  • Negotiating care with patient/client and families
  • Discharge planning

Clinical assessment and monitoring:

  • Vital signs: TPR & BP
  • Physical assessment
  • Pain assessment
  • Respiratory assessment
  • Pulse oximetry
  • Using a stethoscope
  • Cardiovascular assessment
  • Cardiac monitoring: lead attachment
  • Blood glucose monitoring
  • Neurological assessment
  • Neurovascular assessment
  • Abdominal assessment
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Cognitive assessment
  • Assessment of fluid balance
  • Psychosocial assessment
  • Comprehensive health assessment
  • Venous ulcer assessment

Clinical interventions and management:

  • Wound care: aseptic non-touch technique
  • Wound care: packing wounds
  • Wound care: non-healing wounds
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Urinary catheterisation
  • Care of dying/deceased person

Privacy and dignity:

  • Respectful care
  • Confidentiality
  • Cultural and transcultural care
  • Care of the dying/deceased person
  • Promoting self-management:
  • Discharge planning
  • Heath education & health promotion

Risk and safety:

  • Hand hygiene
  • Hand washing for invasive procedures
  • Infection control
  • Manual handling
  • Falls prevention
  • Risk assessment
  • Safe use of physical and chemical restraints
  • Dealing with challenging behaviour

Medications, intravenous therapy and blood products:

  • Safe checking, administration, documentation and disposal of medications
  • Medication calculations
  • Oral medication administration
  • Other non-parenteral medications
  • Subcutaneous infusions
  • Promoting self-management of medications


Assessment task 1: Quizzes


Students to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts covered in the subject and the ability to apply this knowledge to clinical case scenarios.

Weight: 10%

2 x 5 questions (5% each)

Assessment task 2: Essay


Students will review the literature and discuss person-centred care planning of an older person with reference to best practice.

Weight: 45%

1200 words

Assessment task 3: Final exam


Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the content of the subject and their ability to apply this knowledge to clinical case scenarios.

Weight: 45%

Assessment task 4: Clinical placement


80 hours

Required texts

There is no prescribed text for this subject. Linkage to resource material will be be provided for the subject in UTS Canvas.

Recommended texts

Johnson, A & Chang, E (Eds) 2021 Caring for older people in Australia: Principles for nursing practice, Wiley& Sons


(To be updated)

Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce. (2018). A Matter of Care Australia’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council. (2017). National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions. Government Canberra.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Dementia in Australia. Cat No AGE70, AIHW, Canberra.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2013). National health priority areas.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2015). Use of aged care services before death. Data linkage series no. 19. Cat. no. CSI 21. Canberra: AIHW.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Australia’s Health 2018. Canberra, Cat. No. AUS 221.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Causes of death patterns and peoples use of aged care: a Pathways in Aged Care analysis of 2012-2014 death statistics. Canberra: AIHW.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Older Australia at a Glance 4th Edn, Cat. No. AGE87, AIHW, Canberra.http://DOI: 10.25816/5ec5bda5ed178

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). Australia’s Welfare 2019: data insights Canberra, Cat. No. AUS 226.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). Consumers experience of residential aged care Australia 2017-2019. Cat No AGE101, AIHW Canberra.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). Older people. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia Retrieved from

Brown, D., Edwards, H., Buckley, T., & Atiken, R. (2019). Lewis’ medical-surgical nursing: Assessment and management of clinical problems, 5th edn, Elsevier/Mosby, Sydney.

Cohen, J., & Deliens. L. (2012). A Public Health Perspective on End of Life Care. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Crisp, J., Douglas, C., Reberio, G., & Waters D. (2016). Potter and Perry’s fundamentals of nursing, 5th edn, Mosby/Elsevier, Sydney.

Forsgren, S., Christensen, T., & Hedemalm, A. (2014). Evaluation of the case method in nursing education. Nurse Education in Practice, 14(2), 164-169.

Garner, K.K., Goodwin, J.A., McSweeney, J.C, & Kirchner, J.E. (2013). Nurse executives' perceptions of end-of-life care provided in hospitals. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2013;45(2):235-243. http://doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2012.02.021

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. (2016). Registered Nurse Standards for Pratice,

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. (2019). Interim Report: Neglect Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:

For other resources/ information refer to the Faculty of Health website ( and Canvas at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666.

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733.

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
The Accessibility Service can support students with disabilities, medical or mental health conditions, including temporary injuries (e.g., broken limbs). The Accessibility Service works with Academic Liaison Officers in each Faculty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as exam provisions, assistive technology, requests and strategies for managing your studies alongside your health condition. If you’re unsure whether you need assistance, we recommend getting in touch early and we can provide advice on how our service can assist you. Make an appointment with an Accessibility Consultant (AC) on +61 2 9514 1177 or

The Financial Assistance Service can assist you with financial aspects of life at university, including Centrelink information, tax returns and budgeting, interest-free student loans and grants to assist with course-related costs. Check eligibility and apply online and make an appointment on +61 2 9514 1177 or