University of Technology Sydney

96805 Ethical, Legal and Moral Dilemmas of Palliative Care

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 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:

Postgraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

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

Description

In this subject, students examine the intersection between law and ethics to develop their skills in decision-making for person-centred care across populations in palliative care. This subject supports students in becoming creative, inquiring, and responsive health professionals who continuously and critically analyse and reflect on their roles, making appropriate adaptations. Students analyse legal principles relevant to care-related decision-making and provision in palliative and end of life contexts and are able to locate legal information and services relevant to their jurisdiction.

Students examine palliative care ethical and legal dilemmas, including ways to respond to diverse cultural beliefs and attitudes to death and dying. Students distinguish the ethical conduct and core practice principles for stakeholders working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, families and communities.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Appraise the intersection between law and ethics in the context of palliative and end of life decision-making and patient capacity and preference.
B. Evaluate ethical and legal situations, including cultural beliefs and attitudes to death, dying, meaning of life, existential suffering and moral distress that health professionals may encounter when caring for people with palliative and end of life care needs.
C. Justify a well-considered course of action and script potential responses to situations of ethical and legal conflict for people with palliative care needs and/or their families.
D. Examine the personal and professional dimensions of practice as they interact with and uphold ethical and legal imperatives to facilitate optimal palliative and end of life care, including applying ethical principles for care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, families and communities.
E. Describe legal principles relevant to decision-making and provision of care in palliative and end of life contexts.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Integrate the delivery of person-centred care across all populations, settings and systems (1.0)
  • Inter-professional collaboration: Prioritise inter-professional collaborative practice to ensure the highest quality palliative care for all (3.0)
  • Create adaptive professionals who continuously analyse, critique and reflect on their role (5.0)
  • Demonstrate professional cultural competency which contributes to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians, inclusive of physical, social, emotional and spiritual wellness (6.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject will be delivered exclusively online, enabling students to participate remotely. Students will be actively engaged in enquiry-based learning through a range of multimedia interactive activities, including those involving collaboration with others. The online learning platform ‘Canvas’ will be used for all subject materials and announcements.

Assessment activities will include individual and group tasks in the form of presentation, discussion and writing. Feedback will be shared by peers as well as tutors to establish a learning community that will provide ongoing support to students throughout their course.

Online modules
Learning content will be delivered through structured online modules that equip students to be adaptive health professionals in palliative care.

Content (topics)

Subject content will include the following.

  • Examining the ethical and legal connections between personal and professional dimensions of practice that contribute to optimal end of life care.
  • Recognising various and sometimes competing factors that affect professional decisions and actions in complex workplace contexts.
  • Navigating, appreciating and responding to challenges presented by cultural beliefs and attitudes to death, dying and the meaning of life, existential suffering and moral distress, in addition to issues more commonly addressed in healthcare ethics.
  • Developing ‘ethical competence’, including the capacity to recognise the issues and their various dimensions, and use reasoning to guide decision-making in order to achieve some resolution.
  • Understanding the different contemporary approaches to ethical training and practice, with a focus on Giving Voice to Values.
  • Identifying and responding to patients’ legal needs, including being aware of which legal services to access for information and referral.
  • Identifying, describing and applying relevant legal knowledge to inform clinical decision-making and ethical deliberation in palliative and end of life contexts.
  • Supporting patient decision-making when capacity is in question.
  • Understanding health professionals’ legal responsibilities and rights in relation to voluntary assisted dying.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Reflection on personal and professional experience

Intent:

To assist students in reflecting on and evaluating their own personal and professional experience in the interests of establishing how they can most effectively address ethical conflict in the workplace.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A and D

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

5.0

Weight: 15%
Length:

600 words

Assessment task 2: Scripting a creative Giving Voice to Values scenario

Intent:

For students to become more comfortable in effectively acting on their well-considered values through scripted responses to resolve an ethical conflict based on personal practice experience.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and D

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

1.0, 3.0 and 5.0

Weight: 25%
Length:

Scripted video of 3 – 4 minutes

Assessment task 3: Ethical principles in caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, families and communities

Intent:

To provide students with the opportunity to practice applying ethical principles to clinical scenarios within the context of palliative and end of life care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, families and communities.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

B and D

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

6.0

Weight: 15%
Length:

Completion of aspaced education’ module via email

Assessment task 4: Advance planning from preparation to implementation

Intent:

To help students identify and apply legal and ethical considerations relevant to the process of advance planning and implementing plans in situations of serious and/or terminal illness.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D and E

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

1.0 and 5.0

Weight: 30%
Length:

1500 words

Assessment task 5: Participation in reflection and discussion activities

Intent:

To support students to reflect on and exchange their views and experiences of how the law impacts the provision of palliative and end of life care.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A and D

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

5.0

Weight: 15%
Length:

Equivalent to 600 words

Other resources

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Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres: www.uts.edu.au/current-students/contacts/general-contacts

For other resources/ information refer to the Faculty of Health website (www.uts.edu.au/about/faculty-health).

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: lib.uts.edu.au, 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 (www.ssu.uts.edu.au/helps). HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733.

Please see www.uts.edu.au for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.