University of Technology Sydney

96323 Ageing: Health, Illness, and Decline

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 2023 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

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


This subject is designed to develop students' knowledge and skills in caring for an older person, across a range of care settings. A particular emphasis is placed on evidence-based assessment and care of the older person, with a common geriatric syndrome. In response to a rapidly ageing population, students are encouraged to embrace the multiple opportunities and challenges in providing person-centred care to ensure optimal health outcomes for older people.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Integrate knowledge of the normal ageing process and markers of deteriorating health in care of the older person.  
B. Appraise strategies aimed to promote healthy and productive ageing.  
C. Select and apply the most relevant assessment tools and care approaches for responding to selected geriatric syndromes in the older person.
D. Apply the principles of person-centred care and critique the challenges in planning and delivering safe and effective person-centred care for older people across a range of care settings. 
E. Demonstrate effective communication and support for older people, including their family/informal caregivers. 
F. Utilise appropriate evidence-based strategies for developing resilience and wellbeing for the health care workforce, older people and their families/significant others and/or informal caregivers.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Identify, synthesise, evaluate and apply the best available evidence for translation into practice to achieve optimal health outcomes (1.1)
  • Demonstrate comprehensive clinical judgement and clinical reasoning that is based on evidence and reflects relevant professional codes and guidelines (1.2)
  • Analyse approaches for building own capacity for leadership and that of the interdisciplinary health workforce and health care consumers (2.1)
  • Demonstrates ability to collaborate and influence evidence-based change and transformation for achieving optimal health care outcomes (2.2)
  • Justify and promote social justice principles to ensure efficient use of resources and equity of access to health care (3.1)
  • Synthesise evidence-based principles of quality and safety to achieve optimal health outcomes (3.2)
  • Consistently adopt a respectful, empathic and person-centred approach that engages and empowers health care consumers and families/significant others (4.1)
  • Demonstrate a high level of verbal, non-verbal, written, digital and other technological communication skills (4.2)
  • Demonstrate compassionate, empathic, ethical and collaborative clinical practice (5.2)
  • Practise and promote the principles of self-care that build resilience and support personal and team wellbeing (5.3)

Teaching and learning strategies

Orientation activities
Preparation for the session - You are expected to undertake activities during orientation week. These activities are designed to introduce you to the subject and your peers, and will assist you to prepare for the subject's assessment tasks.

Independent learning activities
Relevant readings, videos and activities will be made available online relevant to the topic of the week. This will support your ability to progress successfully throughout the subject and complete assessment items effectively. The online material aims to enhance your understanding of the topic or delve deeper into a more specific area, compare experiences and ideas with others and gain feedback. Information and links to all these learning activities can be accessed via Canvas as well as the subject outline.

Zoom meetings
You are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled Zoom meetings as they will prepare you for the subject’s assessment tasks. Additionally, they provide opportunities for group activities, discussion, self-assessment, peer review and formative feedback from the subject coordinator and your teaching team. The schedule for this subject’s zoom meetings is below in the program section.

Feedback in this subject takes several forms including self-assessment, peer review, automatic feedback from interactive activities and from the teaching team. Formative feedback throughout the subject aims to increase your performance in summative assessments.

Feedback and changes from previous subject offering
Feedback from the previous offering was positive and no major changes have been made. Several resources and readings have been updated and/or refined to maintain subject quality, accuracy and relevance.

Content (topics)

This subject will cover the following topics:

Module 1: Facts on ageing

  • Person-centred care
  • Physiological changes
  • Medications and older people
  • Geriatric syndromes
  • National standards and frameworks

Module 2: Focus on dementia

  • The dementia basics
  • Communication and dementia
  • Person-centred care and dementia
  • Medications and dementia
  • Pain assessment and management
  • Dementia and delirium
  • End of life care

Module 3: Living well as an older person

  • Healthy ageing strategies
  • Falls prevention
  • Creating age-friendly communities
  • Technology for healthy ageing
  • Preventing elder abuse
  • Advance care planning


Assessment task 1: Brief report: Person-centred care


In this assessment, students will report on their person-centred care (PCC) approach to an older person for whom they have recently cared. Through a series of prompting questions (outlined in the task below), the assessment will encourage students to link subject content to their individual practice. The report will support students to develop and/or progress their person-centred approach to caring for older people, and will also prepare them to address the PCC criteria in Assessments Two and Three.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

D, E and F

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2 and 5.3

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

900 words (+/- 10%)


Marking criteria is available in Canvas.

Assessment task 2: Dementia simulation and reflection


This assessment is designed to provide a unique insight into the lived experience of dementia. Understanding the lived experience of dementia enables health professionals to develop a deeper appreciation of the challenges of living with dementia, focusing attention on personhood and person-centred care. Through an enhanced understanding of the lived experience, this assessment aims to strengthen relationships with dementia care recipients, colleagues, and ultimately improve quality of care.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, C, E and F

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2 and 5.3

Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

1800 words (+/- 10%)


Marking criteria is available in Canvas.

Assessment task 3: In-depth analysis of a geriatric syndrome


This assessment will enable students to take a more analytical approach to the assessment, care and/or management of issues and challenges that typically occur for older people with a geriatric syndrome. An in-depth analysis will assist students to advance their practice care by:

  1. increasing their knowledge of one geriatric syndrome and associated issues/challenges;
  2. developing their skills as reflective, critical thinkers; and
  3. considering ways to improve their individual practice in person-centred care of older people.

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D, E and F

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 5.2 and 5.3

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

1800 words (+/- 10%)


Marking criteria is available in Canvas.

Required texts

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


Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council. (2020). National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions. Government Canberra.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2022). Australia’s Health 2022. Canberra, Cat. No. AUS 231.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2023). Dementia in Australia. Cat No DEM3, AIHW,


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

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. (2021). Final report Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

Terkelsen, Petersen, J. V., & Kristensen, H. K. (2020). Mapping empirical experiences of Tom Kitwood’s framework of person?centred care for persons with dementia in institutional settings. A scoping review. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 34(1), 6–22.

Tsai, Browne, G., & Inder, K. J. (2021). The effectiveness of interventions to improve pain assessment and management in people living with dementia: A systematic review and meta?analyses. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 77(3), 1127–1140.

Windle, Algar-Skaife, K., Caulfield, M., Pickering-Jones, L., Killick, J., Zeilig, H., & Tischler, V. (2020). Enhancing communication between dementia care staff and their residents: an arts-inspired intervention. Aging & Mental Health, 24(8), 1306–1315.

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