Critical issues in health and wellbeing
Imagine a world in which everyone feels safe, valued for who they are, and is able to participate with confidence in society in a way which supports their health and wellbeing. This module considers what the health and social care system of this type of society would look like and what would need to be in place for staff and service users to successfully work within it. To allow you to explore these issues you will be introduced to contemporary material and theories that explore how health and wellbeing can be affected by factors at individual, relational and society level.
What you will study
This module will explore the key concepts of health and wellbeing. You’ll learn that while these concepts may seem straightforward, they are actually contested issues that are increasingly important when considering health and social care provision.
Using case studies based on real world topics, you will learn how society’s ideas about health and wellbeing shapes current health and social care practice. Each of the real world contexts you are introduced to will have an emphasis on the ways in which these ideas particularly affect the staff who work in these areas and the people who use the services. You’ll be strongly encouraged to reflect upon how our health and social care system needs to be structured if we are to support individuals in feeling positive about their health and wellbeing.
During the module you’ll explore the factors that affect our core sense of health and wellbeing using three core themes: Resilience and aspirations; Identity and meaning; Power and participation. These themes will be used to help you challenge the widely held view that health and wellbeing can only be affected by the individual, and allow you to consider how factors at relationship and society level can also impact on our sense of health and wellbeing.
This module is made up of four blocks of study, each introducing case studies based on the real world, together with key academic theories that will allow you to think more deeply about practical and theoretical issues.
Block 1: Critical issues and the individual
In the first block you’ll focus on health and wellbeing at the level of the individual person and explore what it is that makes people resilient or vulnerable. You will learn about the core theoretical models that are useful for thinking about health, illness and wellbeing. You’ll also explore the role the individual plays in aspiring towards better health and wellbeing.
Block 2: Critical issues in relationships
The second block moves outwards from the level of the individual to consider the impact of relationships that individuals find themselves within. You’ll explore how family, work and social relationships affect health and wellbeing.
Block 3: Critical issues in service provision
The third block looks at health and wellbeing from the perspective of service providers. You’ll ask whether services that are fundamentally designed to treat illness can also support health and wellbeing. You will also explore how staff can work together with individuals and examine the role that services users play in these partnerships.
Block 4: Critical issues in society
In this final block the core themes from across the module come together to examine the health and wellbeing of society in its broadest sense. You’ll learn how and why services designed to address illness and disease have evolved. You will also consider why inequalities persist in society and learn how public health measures have tried to address them.
You will learn
By studying this module we anticipate that you will not only develop your understanding of health and social care provision but will also develop academic and employability skills that are essential for the world today.
This is an OU level 2 module and you need to have the study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, obtained either through OU level 1 study, or from equivalent study elsewhere.
Our OU level 1 module An introduction to health and social care (K101) would be ideal preparation.
However, you don’t need any prior knowledge as the study material for this module is designed to be accessible if you are new to this subject.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.
This module is almost entirely delivered through online learning guides. These will comprise text, graphics, quizzes (for self-assessment) and a range of media resources. They will also provide links to web-based resources. You will also be guided to find and research for relevant resources using the OU Library.
A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.
Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.
A desktop or laptop computer with either:
- Windows 7 or higher
- Mac OS X 10.7 or higher
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).
Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.