WEL424 Loss, Grief and Palliative Care for Older People (8)


This subject prepares students to work with older people experiencing loss and grief caused by chronic and terminal illness, loss of independence, and declining capacity. It includes the spiritual, psychosocial and physical aspects of care. The focus is on the multidisciplinary nature of care for older people including those requiring palliative care at the end of life. Issues of communication, spiritual need, social interaction, cultural norms and quality of life are addressed to prepare students to assist individuals experiencing grief, their families, and staff.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 1
DistanceCanberra Campus
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: WEL424
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sesssionHD/FLSchool of Theology

Enrolment restrictions

Incompatible subject(s)

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to compare and contrast the theories of grief and loss applied to elderly people
  • be able to critically evaluate a wide range of individual responses to grief and loss situations involving elderly people
  • be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of grief and loss as experienced by an older person confronting multiple changes in health, social interaction and accommodation including normal changes of ageing
  • be able to demonstrate an ability to use a palliative approach to enhance the care of the dying person and their family and friends
  • be able to demonstrate an ability to recognise and articulate the needs of different cultural and ethnic communities
  • be able to demonstrate an ability to initiate and provide bereavement support for older people in aged care facilities
  • be able to critically assess community resources for bereavement support and counselling, and provide relevant information to families and friends concerning this support
  • be able to identify and critically assess individual behaviours that might indicate an abnormal response to grief and loss
  • be able to discuss and critically analyse their own and others practice in working with clients going through loss and grief responses related to older adults.


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • Module 1: Theories of loss and grief for older people: Loss and grief in Australian society and understandings of death in later life; Theories and models of loss and grief; Meaning in life and death towards the end of the life cycle; Attitudes to death and suffering: Spirituality and dying
  • Module 2: Age related losses: Vulnerability in later life; Loss an growing old; Death, anxiety and loss of a partner
  • Module 3: Palliative care in ageing: A palliative approach in aged care; Family and social supports in palliative care; "Death with dignity"; Spiritual care in palliative care; Palliative care for those with dementia; Self-care - preventing "burnout"


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.