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 or terminal illness, loss of independence and declining capacity. It addresses physical, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of care. The subject focuses 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 older people experiencing loss and grief, as well as their families and carers in residential and community care settings.


Session 1 (30)
Canberra 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

Grading System



One session


School of Theology

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to compare and contrast theories of loss and grief applied to older people
  • be able to evaluate critically a range of responses to loss and grief situations involving older people
  • be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of loss and grief as experienced by older persons confronting multiple changes in health, social interaction and accommodation, including normal changes associated with 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 residential and community care settings
  • be able to assess critically community resources for bereavement support and counselling, as well as to provide relevant information regarding this support to families and friends
  • be able to identify and assess critically individual behaviours that might indicate an abnormal response to loss and grief
  • be able to discuss and evaluate critically their own practice and the practice of others in working with clients going through loss and grief responses related to older adults.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Module 1: Theories of loss and grief in relation to 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 and 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 to prevent burning out

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of WEL424 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Annotated bibliographies
Case study: responding to grief and/or loss
Essay on topic of choice

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.