We only get one chance to have our dying wishes met, which is why it’s vital to talk, plan and make arrangements for the end of life – before it’s too late. With the sudden Coronavirus pandemic, it seems more crucial than ever to lay out our plans; our immersive interactive 'Life or Death Decisions' explores this further. We also have three free courses on the subject of death, dying and grief, which could prove useful at this time. We also have an article on why death of a loved-one from COVID-19 is particularly difficult to process. Check out the resources below:
Erica Borgstrom, a medical anthropologist and lecturer at The Open University, explores why death from coronavirus is not the type of death we expect.Read now ❯How COVID-19 challenges our notion of a good death
Grief during COVID-19: supporting our colleagues to return to work and thrive following loss
Even if we have been fortunate enough not to experience loss ourselves during this pandemic, there may be colleagues who have. So, how can we support grieving colleagues during these challenging times?Read now ❯Grief during COVID-19: supporting our colleagues to return to work and thrive following loss
Ever heard of advance care planning? Setting out what you’d want to happen to you if you became too unwell to make your own decisions doesn’t have to be morbid but can be incredibly helpful and give you peace of mind. Find out more in this interactive video simulation…Take part now ❯Life or Death Decisions
Explore interesting and challenging ideas around death, dying and grief. This free course, An introduction to death, dying and grief, invites you to think more deeply about death and dying and encourages you to think about it in different ways. This course will introduce you to different perspectives on death; ethical issues related to dying and end-of-life care; as well as expressions of grief. Please note that this course includes video about people talking personally about their experiences in relation to death and dying. If you have been affected by the issues in these videos, there are resources included in the course for further information and support.Learn more ❯An introduction to death, dying and grief
This free course, Living with death and dying, explores how knowledge of and beliefs about death and encounters with death affect people's lives. It will also examine the concept of a 'good death' from an individual perspective in order to enhance the quality of dying.Learn more ❯Living with death and dying
This free course, Death and medicine: Postponement and promise, helps you to explore the extent to which death and dying in western societies are medical events and what aspects of death and dying might be neglected as a consequence. The course covers the way that such things as medicine provide the context of the experiences associated with the end of life.Learn more ❯Death and medicine: Postponement and promise
Depression is extremely common when it comes to a loved one dying and there's much anxiety around the numbers of deaths due to COVID-19. The two free courses below look at depression and anxiety in more detail, plus we have an article on what to do about your ill mental health if you don't have the support you need.
This free advanced level course, Exploring depression, serves as an introduction to masters level study in neurosciences and mental health. Focusing on depression, you will consider key issues concerning diagnosis, causes and interventions. You will also begin to explore theoretical models, biological and psychological explanations, and look at a range of pharmacological and psychological therapies for depression.Learn more ❯Exploring depression
This free advanced level course, Exploring anxiety, serves as an introduction to masters level study in neurosciences and mental health. Focusing on anxiety, you will consider key issues concerning diagnosis, causes and interventions. You will also learn how to evaluate news items, and to go behind the headlines and begin to explore some of the more contemporary and controversial findings within the field.Learn more ❯Exploring anxiety
Copyright: Temple Illuminatus
What can I do about my mental health when I don’t have the support I need?
What can you do if you're not comfortable talking about mental health issues with your peers? Dr Jonathan Leach and Dr Mathijs Lucassen set out six ways of getting the support you need.Read now ❯What can I do about my mental health when I don’t have the support I need?
We've also put together this video series on our YouTube channel, exploring different ways of breaking bad news and the impact of how the news is delivered has upon the person hearing it. How do you tell someone that they're dying? And how will they respond to the news?
Did you know death, dying and bereavement has been a major research and teaching theme at the OU for over twenty years? Find out more on our research page.
We have curated a collection of free learning content from OpenLearn to open up the subject. Take a look at the extra resources below.
Most people haven't heard of advance care plans or may avoid planning for end-of-life care. Dr Erica Borgstrom tells us why...Read now ❯Let’s not talk about dying: Five reasons why people avoid planning for their end-of-life care
The language we use to talk about end of life care matters because it conveys the values we attribute to life and death says lecturer at The Open University, Dr Erica Borgstrom.Read now ❯The language used during end of life care matters
In 1961 the Suicide Act made suicide legal in England and Wales but it remained a criminal offence to assist or encourage someone else to commit suicide. In 2010, following a successful legal battle by multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy, new guidelines were published on assisted suicide to clarify when people were likely to face prosecution. Gary Slapper, Professor of Law at The Open University discusses the case and its implications on assisted suicide and mercy killing with Frances Gibb, legal editor of The Times.Listen now ❯Right to Die
Sudden, brutal death; and so many deaths, at one time. What does it do to you to be one of the bereaved in such a traumatic event such as the 9/11 attacks or a pandemic like Covid-19?Read now ❯Making sense of sudden mass deaths
Learn about death and dying with the OU
What shapes understandings of death and dying, and how does this affect the experiences of dying people, bereaved people, those who work with them, and their carers? In this module you will explore the social context of death and dying, considering the impact on end of life care and bereavement support. You'll engage with real life examples which will enable you to think critically about how practice in this area can be improved. This module is relevant to those working with dying people and their families, or anyone who wants to find out more about death, dying and bereavement.Learn more ❯Death, dying and bereavement
How do we approach death and dying at an individual level? How do we understand it within a wider social context? What are the ethical dilemmas faced by carers and dying people at the end of life? This certificate introduces a range of issues relating to death, dying and dementia care. Drawing on real case studies and acted scenarios, you’ll see and hear from people living with dementia, and from dying people and their carers. You’ll learn how people manage grief (including following sudden and mass death); and explore the social context of death and dying, end-of-life care, bereavement, and ethics. You’ll also explore the incidence and pathology of dementia and its impact on the person with dementia; how people are cared for at home and in care settings; and the ethical dilemmas associated with dementia. Throughout your studies, the emphasis is on the reality of end-of-life care and what changes can improve that care.Learn more ❯Certificate in End-of-Life Care
In the fast-changing world of today’s care sector, professionals at all levels need to be proactive and flexible in order to succeed. This degree in health and social care provides a sound and critical understanding of policy, theory and practice, and will help you to develop as an independent and reflective learner. By the end of the degree course you’ll be able to evaluate your own and others’ roles in the context of policy developments; evaluate emerging strategic solutions; and recognise and value diversity and difference. You’ll understand how ethical, legal, social, economic and political factors influence the provision and development of services; and gain the essential critical and analytical skills needed to engage in the development of evidence-based practice. You will also examine the context and processes of change in yourself, in groups and in services, including new ways of working across agencies and professional boundaries.Learn more ❯BA/BSc (Honours) Health and Social Care