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Learning to Live with and Accompany the Dying Process

Code: 101817 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500891 Nursing OT 4 1


Sergio Martinez Morato

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


There are no established prerequisites, but it is recommended to have passed the previous courses.

Objectives and Contextualisation

  1. Identify changes that occur during normal aging, as well as the most prevalent pathologies and concomitant processes during this stage of life.
  2. Learn about the different health structures and organizations intended to provide healthcare to the elderly, and recognize the role of nursing in elderly healthcare teams.
  3. Identify the elements of comprehensive geriatric assessment, and recognize their usefulness and application on clinical practice.
  4. Select the most appropriate interventions to help people live and take care of themselves by adapting to the changes produced by the process of natural aging (healthy aging).
  5. Identify the concept of end of life through the perspective of different natural and social disciplines.
  6. Learn about different meanings of death from a social, historical and cultural perspective.
  7. Identify those interventions aimed at caring for people in end-of-life situations.
  8. Identify those interventions aimed at guaranteeing autonomy during decision-making that may appear taking care of people in end-of-life situations.
  9. Learn about strategies used when taking care of the environment of people in end-of-life situations, recognizing the role of the nurse in taking care of individuals, as well as their environments and communities.
  10. Reason, through critical thinking, the most appropriate interventions when caring for the elderly, as well as people during end-of-life situation processes, analyzing the most up-to-date information according to scientific evidence.
  11. Reflect on death, while identifying taboos, prejudices and assumptions inherent in people and societies, and identify the knowledge that allows to recognize useful tools to develop help relationship when taking care of people in end-of-life situations and their environment.


  • Base nursing interventions on scientific evidence and the available media.
  • Develop critical thinking and reasoning and communicate ideas effectively, both in the mother tongue and in other languages.
  • Develop independent learning strategies.
  • Express in a fluent, coherent and appropriate manner the established rules, both orally and in writing.
  • Identify, analyse and choose the most suitable option to respond efficiently and effectively to problems in the professional context.
  • Plan and carry out nursing care aimed at people, families and groups orientated to health results and evaluate the impact of them using clinical and care practice guides describing the processes for the diagnosis, treatment or cure of a health problem.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply nursing care to the elderly in their environment.
  2. Defend the planning of cures for the elderly and in their environment according to contrasted scientific evidence.
  3. Develop independent learning strategies.
  4. Express in a fluent, coherent and appropriate manner the established rules, both orally and in writing.
  5. Identify, analyze and make the right choice paragraphs to address problems professionally, efficiently and effectively.



When we think of a definition of death, it is very likely to express that death is the end of life. However, such a simple description contrasts with the complexity of this phenomenon in humans. Although from a strict point of view, everyone would agree with the description of the end of life, it clearly presents a difficulty in attributing it a meaning. The human need to provide a reasoned explanation for the facts that determine its existence has made of the mortal condition, from the beginning of mankind, a primary issue. If there’s something that could be assured about the meaning of death, it is that diversity is immense on numerous levels, from a social and cultural perspective, and even from the health sciences perspective.

Healthcare professionals are part of an environment where death is a daily matter. From a health’s point of view, death and the mortal condition have always been seen as the eternal enemy to be overcome. Optimal health and well-being are related to life, while illness and suffering are related to death. Its inevitable component, which significantly affects life of the individual and his environment, makes it a unique problem in caring for people. In this scenario, it is also common to relate death to aging, often referred to as the incessant change that brings us closer to the end of life. Care for the elderly is a constant in the health system, accounting for almost 2/3 of the use of health resources. This reality can be explained by several factors. On the one hand, the changes that occur during aging are related to a greater degree of dependence and chronic pathologies, which coexist with any problem that has developed during people’s lives. On the other hand, the increase in life expectancy and the decrease in birth rates lead to the progressive aging of populations around the world.

Following the primary goal of caring for people, nursing must respond to the needs of the elderly, and ensure their autonomy as far as possible, until the end of life. Nursing professionals need to pay attention to the aging of people and populations, as well as the dying process of human beings. Only in this way we approach, without being able to give a definitive answer, to understand the importance of death in health, and how to incorporate this knowledge in order to improve our results when taking care of people.

Principles and Concepts

  • The aging process. Aging population.
  • Biopsychosocial changes in the elderly.
  • Interdisciplinary work in the care of the elderly. Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment.
  • Encounter with the deadly condition. Review of the concept and meaning of death from different perspectives.
  • Death in the elderly.
  • The role of culture in death.
  • Accompany in the process of dying. Losses and mourning processes
  • Death in health care.
  • Learning to die, learning to live.


  • Theory sessions will be given, which will be complemented with exercises for solving and debating practical cases.
  • There will be two film forum sessions led through a script in perspective to the theory worked on during the course.
  • Through the moodle platform on the virtual campus, interactive activities will be carried out to complement the theory presented in class, which will be taken into account to evaluate the participation and monitoring of the subject.
  • There will be a session where the student will have to present a work with the theme "The Role of Culture in Death", specifications of which will be set out at the beginning of the course.
  • In parallel to the sessions, the student will have to elaborate a folder of learning where will have to reflect the knowledge generated along the subject:
    • Theory taught in the sessions.
    • Study of articles and recommended or found bibliography through autonomous bibliographic search.
    • Complementary activities carried out in the sessions and through the virtual campus.
    • Reflections made as a result of the contents.
    • Other elements considered of interest to the subject.
  • The two-way means of communication with teachers will be through messaging on the subject's moodle platform, on the virtual campus. This communication will be intended for the resolution of doubts, notification of absences or changes that may arise during the development of the subject.
  • The guidelines of the Autonomous University of Barcelona regarding the adaptation of part-time attendance will be respected, depending on the number of students enrolled. If it is necessary to schedule virtual sessions, these will be conducted through a virtual communication and collaboration platform accessible to all enrolled students.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
THEORY (TE) 49 1.96 4, 5
Type: Autonomous      


The competences of this subject are evaluated following a rubric in accordance with three assessable activities:

  1. The elaboration and delivery of a student learning folder, which will collect the knowledge acquired and the evidence of the sources used.
  2. Carrying out a work in the form of oral defense aimed at studying a section of the content of the subject.
  3. Active participation in the discussion forum of the subject through the platform for this activity available through the virtual campus.

In addition, it will be requested to carry out a work in the form of an oral presentation aimed at the study of one of the sections of the content. This activity includes a self-assessment, a peer assessment, and a tutor assessment. The weight of each format is distributed as follows, following the results obtained in the respective evaluation rubrics:

  • Self-assessment: 30%
  • Peer evaluation: 20%
  • Teacher evaluation: 50%

Obtaining the final evaluation:

1. The requirement for obtaining the final evaluation is to have completed all the assessable units.

2. Any student who has not participated in the established deadlines, in the assessment units, is considered non-evaluable.

3. The final evaluation will be the sum of the different parts that make up the subject. The final qualification according to agreement 4.4 of the Governing Council 11/17/2010 of the evaluation regulations, are the following:

  • 0-4.9 = Suspension
  • 5-6.9 = Approved
  • 7-8.9 = Notable
  • 9-9.5 = Excellent
  • 9.6-10 = Honors registration

4. The student has the right to review the assessments.

5. The assessment of special and particular situations must be assessed by an evaluation committee set up for this purpose.

6. A recovery process will be carried out after the provisional publication of the tests carried out, with the delivery and oral presentation of the reports / written works not approved, rectified and updated, and will be evaluated through a rubric.

7. Copying or plagiarism is a crime, and will lead to the suspension of the subject with a 0 as a final grade, without access to recovery, whether it is an individual or group work (in this case, all members of the group will have a 0).

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Assistance and active participation in class and seminars 20 0.5 0.02 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Delivery of reports / written work 50 0.5 0.02 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Oral defense of the works 30 0.5 0.02 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


In line with the methodology used for Problem Based Learning (PBL) and given that one of the general competences that the student is expected to acquire is to develop strategies for autonomous learning, no bibliography is specified.

The student has to become competent in the search and management of the information.


It does not require specific software.