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University of Glasgow

End of Life Care: Challenges and Innovation

University of Glasgow via FutureLearn


Learn about new directions and the latest thinking on end of life care.

Death itself may be certain, but how we die involves many challenges. On this course, you’ll explore the care we receive when dying, cultural variations and beliefs around what makes a good death, and the planning and timing of death.

With increasingly ageing populations, we are living longer but dying more slowly. New ideas around end of life care are therefore emerging in different contexts. You will discover the patterns and global trends taking place in palliative care, and explore these new approaches from a social science and humanities perspective.

It is ideal for anybody considering taking The University of Glasgow’s MSc End of Life Studies

#1 in Health & Medicine and Nursing

You’ll also be learning from health and care experts at the University of Glasgow, recently ranked as offering the number one online healthcare course and number 14 online health and medicine course by Class Central, a search engine ranking the top online classes of all time.

This course is for people interested in or engaged in matters relating to death, dying, bereavement, palliative and end of life care.

This course will be of special interest to those working in healthcare, including physicians, nurses, social workers, and other health and social care professionals.

The course will also appeal to practitioners, students, researches, volunteers and policymakers in end of life care, as well as social activists and those working in artistic and cultural media who are working on end of life issues.

It is ideal for anybody considering the University of Glasgow’s MSc End of Life Studies


  • Definitions, Concepts, and the Particular Case of Hospital Dying
    • Welcome to the Course
    • Overview
    • Defining 'End of Life' and 'Dying'
    • 'Good' and 'Bad' Dying
    • Hospital Care at End of Life
    • Week 1 Summary
  • Community Approaches to End of Life Care and Contemporary Dying
    • Overview
    • Community Palliative Care in Kerala, India
    • Compassionate Communities
    • End-of-Life Doulas
    • Death Café
    • Week 2 Summary
  • The Rise of Autonomy, Choice and Personalisation
    • Overview
    • Assisted Dying
    • Old-Age Rational Suicide
    • Personalised Funerals
    • Week 3 Summary
    • Course Recap

Taught by

David Clark


4.8 rating, based on 148 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 165 ratings

Start your review of End of Life Care: Challenges and Innovation

  • Just finished. This was a very interesting micro course. Not gloomy or depressing or scary at all. I can recommend it (and it's also free! ) There is a fair bit of recommended reading and very good discussion that is worth taking part in, though, so as usual take the estimated hours per week with a grain of salt.
  • Anonymous
    A great, very informative course. The course covered wide ranging topics in end of life care. The challenges in end of life care were all discussed in depth with lots of up to date examples. The initiatives that are occurring in end of life care globally were extremely interesting to study. This course has lots of interesting articles to read as well advancing my knowledge.
  • Anonymous
    Very informative made me truly think about the issues of the course and helped me gain some new perspectives on these issues.
  • Hazel McCorrisken
    This course had a lot packed into it with lots to think about too.
    There were many topics I had never heard about before and that made for interesting reading and learning.
  • Elaine Drummond
    The course encompassed all areas of the end of life There was new ideas about how end of life need not be a bad experience The Inverclyde community showed how communities can come together to make a difference to patients leaving hospital and it was similar to the Kerala project. Various settings were discussed where end of life takes place from community
    hospital and hospices. New ideas were also discussed by the celebrant.
    Thanks to all who put the course together
  • Anonymous
    Very insightful. It discusses the simple way of dying to the compassion community and the personalisation of funerals. A lot of question was stirred in me and I would like to keep continue discovering more about this topic. And I'm planning to go to a Death Cafe in the coming weeks!
  • Anonymous
    Very well presented with clarifying and explanatory points in regard to end-of-life matters. Recommended!
  • Kirk Lothian
    Many of the topics covered in this course have been debated in the media for decades but the participation in the course allowed me to deeply consider my own thoughts on the matter. There were some wonderfully enlightening and encouraging topics highlighting the selfless acts of compassion both abroad and very close to home. New roles within society are discussed and overall a very positive experience which I was quite surprised about, considering the gravity of the topic.
  • Anonymous
    I've just completed this course and it's been fascinating. A great range of topics and all so clearly set out and easy to explore at my own pace. Lots of links to further reading and we were encouraged to engage with others on the course too.

    Very tempted by the MSc! Thanks so much for all the work that's gone into this - I can't believe it's free.
  • Anonymous
    This is a challenging subject for everyone. My sincere thanks go to the educators and fellow learners for such a very thought-provoking opportunity, and to FL for enabling peers who wished to share their head and heart thoughts in its safe global en…
  • Anonymous
    This course is functional and avantgarde. It reveals the definition of good and bad death, also introduces the ideas of death trajectories in the study of week 1. I could had a basic conception of death itself and think further about how to reach a…
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed this course and was able to relate it to both my professional and personal life. I have been telling my work colleagues about it and encouraging them to sign up.

    It has made me think more about ideas of how I can encourage community palliative care support.

    One thing I want to look into further is how different cultures care for loved ones at end of life and what I maybe should be mindful of when supporting people of different cultures and faiths also.
  • Anonymous
    This course tackled a very sensitive subject with just the right amount of information along with excellent examples in a variety of settings. This course should be mandatory in schools.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed this course and did find out a few things that i did not know. it was an introduction to the Degree . I would recommend this course to other nurses as well as non professionals, with its thought provoking content
  • Anonymous
    This course provides a lot of social perspectives about death and dying. From the modern medical system, such as hospital, to compassionate community, Death Café, and individual perspectives. The most important thing I learn from here is that the…
  • Anonymous
    This was very sensitive and thought provoking subject about something that happens to everyone and should have complete autonomy of. Death and dying is something you very rarely think about especially when you are young and don't have any health pr…
  • Anonymous
    In this human planet. Nothing is permanent. But everything is possible for those who can see and strive. Time for everything _ a time for living and a time for dying. We all can only live at different time line of human history since the human socie…
  • Anonymous
    I completed the course. I was amazed with new information. it was my first time to know about Death Cafe, Rational Suicide, and Palliative care. I also searched for external sources to find out more about the topics that were covered on this course.…
  • Profile image for Abraham Anemaw
    Abraham Anemaw
    Ma name is Abraham Anemaw l was graduated from Bule Hora university in Bsc.N. And right now I'm working at Woliata Sodo university teaching and referral hospital as RN.

    If it's possible l want to take this online course to encourage my potential and skills on that. So I'm wondering to take this course and others too.
  • Anonymous
    Interesting and thought-provoking: we were introduced to the concepts of Death Cafes and Coffin Clubs, end-of-life doulas, rational suicide and personalised funerals. A great course to take on its own, but there are PGDip, PGCert and MSc courses with this provider if you wish to take the studies further.

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