Dying Patient and the Family

Course Description

Examines the unique nature of anticipated death and dynamics between the dying patient and the family. The dying process is explored from biological, psychological, social, and spiritual perspectives. Health care systems involved with death are also explored. Learners will acquire knowledge to support the dying patient and the family.

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate the experience of terminal illness.
  • Describe key concepts, issues, and statistics of dying in America.
  • Analyze the social and medical systems that are involved with care of the dying, such as medical facilities, hospice, and palliative care.
  • Evaluate the concept of anticipatory grief, both for the patient and the family.
  • Define and describe ambiguous loss.
  • Define and describe the dying process in terms of biological, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and interpersonal processes that may be experienced by the terminally ill patient.
  • Identify and integrate psychological, emotional, biological, interpersonal, sexual and spiritual dimensions of human functioning with needs of the dying patient.
  • Evaluate and describe the emotional, spiritual, interpersonal, sexual, and psychological effects and needs of the family/friends/caregivers of the terminally ill patient.
  • Assess how culture plays a significant role in the experience of dying.
  • Identify and discern key legal issues surrounding the dying process, including living wills, advanced directives, and power of attorney.
  • Evaluate the ethical dilemmas concerning death and dying such as euthanasia, availability of transplants, differential delivery of health care, lack of appropriate insurance, etc. in contemporary American society.
  • Develop an understanding of how dying can be made a more meaningful part of the human experience, including how dying can lead to growth.
  • Identify and integrate his or her own attitudes, values, needs, beliefs, concerns, and wishes of dying and after death care.


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School of Arts, Letters, and Sciences
Jackson M., Class of 2021, Military Veteran