In this course, you’ll learn how serious and life-threatening illnesses often affect emotional and spiritual well-being. Illnesses can increase stress as patients and families learn to live with a “new normal” that may often focus on illness. You’ll learn how to tell when normal sadness (or grief) becomes something more serious and needs to be addressed. People with serious illnesses also have social concerns as their family, friends and community support system becomes stretched, and sometimes fails. We’ll talk about resources and skills you can use to help support patients and families. You’ll learn about advance care planning, that includes shared decision-making, setting goals of care, and writing down plans for care.
Introduction to Common Psycho-Social-Spiritual Concerns
In this course, you’ll learn how serious and life-threatening illnesses can affect emotional and spiritual well-being and increase stress on the patient's support network. We’ll talk about resources and skills you can use to help support patients and families. You’ll also learn about advance care planning, which includes shared decision-making, setting goals of care, and writing down plans for care.
How Sad Is Too Sad?
In this module, you will learn how to determine if someone is experiencing normal grief about losses with serious illness. You will also learn when feeling sad becomes a more serious problem, like depression, demoralization, or the desire to die. You’ll also learn how caregivers also grieve.
Anxiety and Coping
Providing support and care in the last days of life is important. We only have one chance to provide excellent care for this person. Patients and families often feel afraid and overwhelmed. You can help ease suffering when everyday stress becomes unmanageable anxiety. You can also help patients and families understand the dying process; express their preferences for care; manage common symptoms, and provides practical, emotional, spiritual and social support. You can help make serious illness and the last days of life positive and meaningful experiences.
Easing Spiritual Distress
In this lesson, we’ll talk about the difference between spirituality and religion. Then you’ll learn skills for respectful spiritual conversations with patients and family members.
Advocating Advance Care Planning, Shared Decision Making, Goals of Care, and Family Meetings: “We Cannot Direct the Wind But We Can Adjust the Sails.”
In this lesson, we will talk about a very important topic that concerns each and every one of us. Advance care planning, shared decision making, goals of care, advocating for those we love and family conversations are central topics we all will run into eventually. What kind of care would we want if we could not speak for ourselves? Who do we want to stand up for us and speak for what we want if we can’t do it ourselves? What are our values and beliefs, what gives us joy, what do we want when time on this earth is limited? Using these principles as the guiding light, goals of care emerge and along with them preferences for treatment. We will look at ways to help facilitate the identification of these goals of care as well as how to help caregivers understand and support their loved ones wishes and desires.
Nancy Robertson, Maurice Scott, Kelly Arora, Amos Bailey and Regina Fink
This course excellently covered arguably the most difficult dimension of understanding and rendering palliative care - dealing with psychosocial and spiritual issues as part of the patient's and her/his loved one's illness experience. Since this dimension is, at the very least, as important as physical and pain concerns, the perceived challenge should not be an excuse to try to improve our skillset in this regard. The recommendations from the material are highly insightful and truly reflect the expertise and experience of the team responsible for the Coursera Specialization where this course belongs. I highly recommend this course to both professional practitioners and non-professional caregivers.