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This subject provides an overview of some of the key ethical issues associated with ageing and the end of life, with an emphasis on their societal dimensions and implications for policy and professional practice. The skills and knowledge gained by students completing this subject will enhance their ability to engage with the health, social and economic issues of ageing and the end of life encountered throughout the Master of Ageing curriculum.
Students will be introduced to bioethical theory and its application in analysis, evaluation and decision making. Martha Nussbaum's account of capabilities for human flourishing will be used to frame the exploration of a number of key issues organized within thematic units of "justice", "autonomy" and "dignity".
Topics covered include diverse historical and cultural perspectives on common ethical issues of ageing and the end of life; ethical principles for health professionals, care givers and institutions providing for the elderly; age as a criterion for health resource allocation; age-based discrimination and bias in clinical decision-making and employment; advance care directives and substitute decision-making; the ethical debates around assisted dying; and intergenerational obligations in the contexts of care giving and the environment.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students will be able to:
- Recognise and explain basic elements of ethical theory and frameworks, relevant to ageing and end of life.
- Discuss key ethical principles and concepts and apply to workplace and social issues related to ageing and end of life.
- Analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to an ethical issue in ageing and end of life.
- Formulate a proposed solution to an ethical challenge in ageing and end of life, supported by considered ethical reasoning.
Students will be provided with the opportunity to practice and reinforce:
- Enhanced skills in critical thinking and analysis of issues in public policy and practice from an ethical perspective.
- Advanced oral and written communication skills.
- Advanced skills in reasoning, persuasion and effective argumentation.
- Ability to identify, evaluate and integrate ethical theory with empirical knowledge in public health and social policy and practice.
Last updated: 10 November 2023