What you will study
There are four blocks of study in this module.
Block 1: Approaches to adulthood and ageing
Starting with an overview of adulthood this block draws upon your views and experiences, to consider the multi-layered theoretical and practical areas of adulthood, ageing, and the life course. The block will engage you in questions such as ‘What does it mean to be an adult?’, ‘How does ‘ageism’ impact on people of all ages?’, and ‘How does quality of life change over the life course?’.
Block 2: The environments of adult support
Block 2 explores the environment in relation to individual, social, and physical factors. For example, environments of the person and their relationships; the significance of housing and physical environments to health and wellbeing; and how communities can be developed to assist and sustain individuals and families. You also examine the impact of living in poverty and deprivation, drawing on a range of perspectives in this respect, and you consider the question of how to manage some of the conflicts and tensions that emerge.
Block 3: The impact of policy on practice
In this block you examine issues, themes, and trends in modern health and social care policy. You consider how, in the rapidly changing context of political, financial, and international events, policies are constructed and implemented, and the nature of your role in this context. You explore how the law fits into wider social policy in providing the framework of rules and requirements that govern practice interventions, and the ways in which governments arrange the funding of services to adults who need support. A key feature of current practice in health and social care is working collaboratively and you will examine the realities of this approach including studying and working collaboratively with students in your tutorial group. Finally in Block 3 you consider some international dimensions of health and social care beyond the UK.
Block 4: Frameworks and skills for adult support
The module concludes in Block 4 with a focus on frameworks and skills for adult support. Drawing on your experiences in health and social care you identify and evaluate some of the principal skills required to work effectively in a caring and supporting role with adults. These include skills of communication; the processes and skills required for the effective assessment of need; and the nature of promoting health and wellbeing within the context of health and social care. You also consider how a range of skills may be used to support and empower individuals, groups and communities, including the particular context of safeguarding adults where individuals may be vulnerable to exploitation, neglect or to abuse. Finally you explore and evaluate the academic skills involved in conducting and appraising research in the process of supporting adults and in developing resources.
You will learn
Your learning will take place principally through the online learning guide via the website. This is a structured and guided online teaching environment where you engage with academic readings, websites, journal articles, video and audio clips, and a range of other learning elements that constitute the combined teaching materials for the module. The student learning activities in this context encourage you to rehearse and to develop your own lines of enquiry as an OU level 3 student. Alongside this there is online communication with other students studying the module and with your tutor. On a regular basis you can share and discuss your experiences and ideas about the material you are studying.
The video and audio materials are integrated into the online learning guide. These are also supplied to you on separate DVDs for offline use if required. You will receive as part of the set of study materials a module guide and a module reader to stimulate and support your learning.
In this module, you learn how to evaluate and communicate many of the important issues in adult health and social care. You will also develop your facility to appreciate some of the contested areas where there may be significant differences of view about the causes and solutions to problems, or about the allocation of resources. This learning takes place in the context of developing your knowledge and your critical understanding of adulthood and ageing, and of how this enhanced facility can make a significant and positive difference to your role as a carer, a service user, or to your role as a professional. You will be encouraged to reflect upon your own learning and how this may be applied positively in practical ways, exploring, developing, and at times perhaps being encouraged to challenge your own values, assumptions, and beliefs.
The module includes a wealth of material in relation to many of the commonly occurring categorisations and groupings within modern health and social care; such as: older people; mental health and wellbeing; long term conditions across the range of adult ability and disability; drug and alcohol use; and offending behaviour. These groupings, however, are not dealt with in fixed divisions but rather they are drawn upon throughout as illustrative and tangible examples in the process of learning about adulthood and ageing through the life course.
The module also incorporates many of the perspectives and ‘voices’ of people working in practice and of people who as adults are receiving support themselves, or have a role in supporting others. These voices are included as text items, and as video and audio clips, where people comment on particular ideas illustrating issues from their personal or their professional experience. These diverse perspectives bring an immediacy and variety to the study process as you learn to engage with and evaluate directly the opinions and the contexts of a rich variety of adults, their supporters, carers, and professionals. As students, you also join in this collaborative process by learning and sharing with your fellow students studying the module .
Some of your reasons to study this module may be linked to enhancing your employment prospects, or you may simply be curious to expand and develop your knowledge and understanding of the adults with whom you have some supporting or caring role; or you may be receiving support services yourself. Whatever your background and motivation, this module is designed to widen your horizons and to deepen and sharpen your facility to think holistically about the issues, structures, and the forces that create and shape adult lives and may lead to people needing additional support. This module will help you consider critically how problems may be addressed and how services may best be provided and sustained, individually, in groups, and through formal organisations.