What you will study
This module, which runs over ten months, will enable you to develop your healthcare knowledge and practice. In particular, your studies both during the study period and after completion of the module will help you to maintain the currency of your practice within an ever-changing healthcare environment and may also enhance your future career development.
The study materials use case studies and audio recordings of practitioners and service users to explore your role in delivering care. The learning activities relate the study materials to your practice to develop further your knowledge and understanding of evidence-based healthcare.
The module is made up of four blocks of study with concurrent practice-based skills development.
Block 1 Promoting health: opportunities and challenges
This block begins by setting the scene for the module. You then go on to explore the opportunities and challenges arising from maintaining physical and mental health across the life module. You also reinforce and extend your understanding of key skills for promoting health, are asked to undertake learning activities in practice, and to build evidence of learning for your Portfolio.
Block 2 Understanding long-term conditions
This block focuses on long-term conditions across the life module, making use of case studies to explore stroke, dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, diabetes and enduring mental health. It builds practical and professional skills in identifying and assessing healthcare needs, and supporting service users in self-care and formal care situations. You extend your knowledge and understanding of relevant UK policies and health trends and of anatomy and physiology relating to long term conditions. In the final unit you explore new initiatives in promoting service user independence, including the growing contribution of telecare and telehealth.
Block 3 Responding to acute conditions
This block starts with an overview of urgent and emergency care services and introduces service user experiences as a theme running across the block. Throughout this block a range of clinical skills are discussed and these provide the context for wider explorations of urgent and emergency care. The block explores urgent and emergency care in community and hospital settings and a range of case studies are presented, alongside the relevant underpinning anatomy and physiology. The block concludes with a discussion of the quality of care in urgent and emergency care and the importance of service user perspectives.
Block 4 Providing palliative and end-of-life care
This block explores the context, policy and practice of palliative and end-of-life care. Talk about death and dying and the use of support strategies is encouraged. A set of case studies are utilised to illustrate some of the challenges for service delivery across a range of different settings. The capacity of service users to make informed decisions and Advanced Care Planning is addressed and the differences between adult, child and young people’s palliative and end-of-life care is discussed. The use of complementary and alternative medicine is explored alongside a range of skills for practice. The ethical and legal requirements for practice are also discussed. All of these elements are fundamental for practitioners working with end-of-life care in the home, hospital, nursing home or hospice.
The underpinning theoretical element of the module requires 250 hours of study. Teaching will be mainly provided online by a tutor who will support your learning and achievement by providing online tutorials, email/telephone-based support and feedback on assessed work. Online forums provide the opportunity for you to reflect on your practice experiences and to discuss and debate current topics in healthcare practice with your tutor and fellow students.
The development of your healthcare practice (350 hours of practice learning) will be facilitated in your practice setting by a workplace supervisor. This supervisor will be responsible for assessing your competence against a competency checklist using pre-determined criteria. This practice assessment tool is provided via a portfolio which includes guidelines on how to complete it. You will also have an Open University (OU) practice tutor who will be available to support your supervisor and you through review meetings and via telephone and/or email.
You will learn
You will learn how to evaluate and communicate to members of multidisciplinary teams and service users some of the current issues in healthcare policy and practice and to appreciate the similarities and differences in the perspectives of service users, professionals and wider society. You will develop a wide range of practice-based skills, including those related to clinical leadership for healthcare workers at levels 3 and 4 on the Career Framework. You will be encouraged to reflect on your own learning and consider how this may be applied in your everyday practice to meet the needs of service users and their relatives. Such reflection may, at times, challenge some of your values and beliefs in relation to your own practice.
This practice-based learning module can be taken as a standalone module or as a module contributing to the Foundation Degree in Healthcare Practice or Diploma of Higher Education in Healthcare Practice. Primarily this module is aimed at healthcare assistants, healthcare support workers and assistant practitioners who are currently working at level 3 on the Career Framework and are aspiring to move to level 4, or who are already working at level 4 but wish to have a qualification to support this level of practice. The practice-based focus will enable students to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to underpin their working practices.