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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Compassionate Care and the Law (LAWS11337)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis module examines the challenges that arise for law in the pursuit of compassion in modern healthcare practice. Drawing on different perspectives from law, medical ethics, psychology, policy, and practice in the context of interactive case studies, it will evaluate current trends that promote a culture of patient choice and empowerment in the context of the caring relationship, within broader policy efforts to redefine care through compassionate approaches. In doing so, it will reveal two fundamental tensions relevant to the application of law in this context:

1. First, it is often difficult to introduce the flexibility inherent in care relationships as seen in practice, into current legal concepts and jurisprudential solutions that often warrant a binary (yes or no) approach in regulating care. This means that current rights-based approaches may seem too rigid or inadequate to support the values that characterise modern healthcare.

2. Second, the ageing global population and resource allocation pressures of 21st century healthcare means that current policies to redefine care increasingly invest in cost-effective solutions. In considering the role of the law to support values of compassion, autonomy, choice, and empowerment through care, it is important to clearly articulate the ethical, social values, and principles that inspire current law and policy solutions.

This module examines how these fundamental tensions are settled within the legal and regulatory structures governing modern healthcare.

The aims of this module are to:

1. Consider how the law can contribute to current efforts to redefine care through compassionate approaches, and how to deal with challenges that arise in this area;

2. Introduce students to a more patient-centred understanding and critical assessment of healthcare structures and interventions, and their regulatory architecture;

3. Focus on the challenges that arise in the practical implementation of current compassionate approaches through interactive case studies;

4. Explore how relational ethical notions of care can be applied in law to expedite new notions of good care in regulating healthcare practice.

Course description Session 1: Core Values, Concepts and Instruments
Session 2: Different Elements of a Care Approach
Session 3: The Limits of Care
Session 4: Expanding the Circle of Care
Session 5: Vulnerability: Care and Children
Session 6: Care in context
Session 7: Vulnerability: Care and Adults with Mental Illness
Session 8: Vulnerability: Aging and Dying
Session 9: Carers¿ Rights and Duties
Session 10: Self Care and Patient Roles
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact the distance learning team at
Additional Costs Students must have regular and reliable access to the internet.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One essay of up to 4,000 words (60%); one individual assignment (20%); contribution to weekly online discussions throughout the semester (20%).

Requirements for all module assessments will be outlined to students at the start of each semester.
Feedback Students can expect to receive timely feedback on their assessments.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify & critique the core ethical tensions and conflicting interests at play in the regulation and practice of compassionate care;
  2. Formulate well-reasoned and coherent arguments about how the law contributes to the shaping of compassionate care and the novel challenges that may arise from its application;
  3. Demonstrate a solid understanding of current legal regimes relevant to the regulation of compassionate care, and where appropriate critically suggest possible reforms.
Reading List
A list of key module readings will be available in advance of the module. Detailed reading lists are then available each week.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop their skills and abilities in:

1. Research and enquiry, through e.g. selecting and deploying appropriate research techniques;

2. Personal and intellectual autonomy, e.g. developing the ability to independently assess the relevance and importance of primary and secondary sources;

3. Communication, e.g. skills in summarising and communicating information and ideas effectively in written form;

4. Personal effectiveness, e.g. working constructively as a member of an online community;

5. Students will also develop their technical/practical skills, throughout the module, e.g. in articulating, evidencing and sustaining a line of argument, and engaging in a convincing critique of another¿s arguments.
Additional Class Delivery Information This course is taught by online distance learning.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMs Annie Sorbie
Tel: (0131 6)50 3633
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 9704
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