Contemporary Approaches to Bereavement

Subject NURS90073 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 32 hours ( 2x2 day workshops )
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours ( including time for relevant literature searching, pre-reading, preparation of assessments ).


To enrol in this subject, you must be admitted in either GC-PALLC or GC-PALCARE. This subject is not available for students admitted in any other courses.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

To complete the requirements for the Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care, students must have completed ‘Fundamentals of Palliative Care’ prior to undertaking ‘Contemporary approaches to bereavement care’.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Overview, Objectives and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


School of Melbourne Custom Programs
Award Programs Team
Phone: 61 3 9810 3245

Subject Overview:

This subject will examine a range of theoretical and clinical approaches to bereavement intervention. Drawing on contemporary theory and evidence-based practice the subject will consider the bereavement needs of special populations and will explore a range of individual, group and family techniques and intervention strategies. Topics to be covered include:

Day 1. Historical and Theoretical Perspectives on bereavement

  • Historical developments in grief theory and practice
  • Recent developments in grief theory and practice
  • Attachment theory

Day 2. Developmental Perspectives

  • Child bereavement
  • Adolescent bereavement
  • Older adult bereavement

Day 3 Clinical Interventions

  • Complicated grief and managing intense emotions
  • Grief and loss in the family system
  • Bereavement risk assessment and referral
  • Rituals, symbols and creative expressions of grief

Day 4 Self care and ethical issues in bereavement care

  • Ethics and bereavement interventions
  • Self care strategies for the practitioner
Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of the subject, students will be able to:

  • Recognise and understand the process of loss and bereavement and the impact this has on patients and their families, and on themselves as service providers
  • Describe a range of grief and bereavement theories as they relate to the palliative care setting
  • Have an understanding of what constitutes good bereavement practices taking into account diversity in age, culture, general and sexual orientation

Type of Assessment :

Assignment One: 2,000-word essay

Students are required to select a theoretical approach to bereavement (ie stress theory, attachment theory, family systems etc.) and provide an overview of this approach. Through the use of a case study apply this theoretical approach to the medical or palliative care settings. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of this theoretical approach.

The first assignment is weighted at 40% of total mark to ensure that students who do not achieve a satisfactory mark can be provided with relevant feedback and resource advice to achieve a higher mark for the second assignment and therefore achieve a pass for the subject overall.

Timing of Assessment - Three weeks after delivery of course content

Assessment % - 40%

Assignment Two: 3,000-word essay

Students are required to choose a topic from the study of bereavement in the palliative care setting. Review significant literature covering the research, theory and practice associated with your chosen area and identify key theoretical and practice perspectives and issues. Discuss how the knowledge you have gained in this investigation can be applied to accomplish better management of bereavement in the palliative care setting.

Timing of Assessment - 8 weeks after delivery of course content

Assessment % - 60%

Prescribed Texts:

Selected readings will be made available to students via SOLE.

Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students will be recognised for their skill and knowledge related to bereavement, and acknowledged as a resource within their services

Students will complement their existing communication skills

Students will be considered as leaders in their field.

Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care
Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care

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