POPLHLTH 746 : Ethics, Culture and Societal Approaches to Death

Medical and Health Sciences

2022 Semester Two (1225) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Approaches to death by Māori and other cultures. Resource and legal issues in the New Zealand context. Ethical issues: euthanasia versus palliative care, privacy, living wills and end of life medical decision-making; particularly treatment abatement. Duties after death, the nature of teamwork, the multidisciplinary nature of palliative care, the role of volunteers, emotional self care for palliative care providers, and home versus residential care.

Course Overview

This course is delivered in distance mode and includes one 2-day seminar in Auckland. Course details and information including access to digitised readings and assessments are online and will be made accessible through Canvas at the beginning of the semester. Broadband internet connection is recommended for easy access to online resources and assessments. Course components include:

• The history of caring for patients with life-threatening illness and dying in New Zealand; 

• Māori spirituality and dying; 

• Exploring concepts of culture and society in relation to dying; 

• Introduction to ethical principles as they apply to end-of-life illness; 

• Social theories relating to palliative care 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Director: 
Ruth Choi Lee
Email: ruth.choilee@auckland.ac.nz
The team are grateful to the clinical specialist speakers who contribute their time and knowledge to this course. 

Course Administrator:
Mrs Upendra Wickramarachchi
Group Services Administrator
Email: u.wicks@auckland.ac.nz

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Health Sciences

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Assess the impact of cultural and religious values and beliefs on palliative care that form the basis of creating care plans, including an indigenous based partnership between Maori and other cultures in the community context. Te Arotaki Hiahia (Assessment of Needs) (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2)
  2. Critique a patient/family centred care plan that is cognisant of specific needs of culture, carer/family involvement and holistic palliative care delivery by services.Te Whakarite mahere manaaki tangata (Developing the care plan) (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2)
  3. Use an ethical framework for deliberation and decision-making in palliative care case planning, incorporating the concepts of justice, non-maleficence, beneficence and respect for autonomy as components of their codes of practice in case study planning;Te Whakarite mahere manaaki tangata (Developing the care plan) (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2)
  4. Discuss and debate contemporary issues that arise in palliative care as they relate to patients and their families whilst interpreting strategic statutes and legal responsibilities that influence the plan of care;Te Whakarite mahere manaaki tangata (Developing the care plan) (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2)
  5. Critically evaluate the effectiveness of past and present systems of palliative care in health care organisation that influence the direction and effective implementation of care plans for patients and their families/whanau;Te Whakarite mahere manaaki tangata (Developing the care plan) (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2)
  6. Critically compare emerging relevant global models of palliative care services which are directly guided by key policies at national and local levels of governance, and apply these to planning care for patients and their families requiring palliative care and support; (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2)
  7. Use and apply reflexive reflection to continually update knowledge that will inform the holistic creation and effective application of care plans that are cognisant of the changing palliative needs of patients and their families; Te Whakawhitinga o nga ratonga (Transitions within and between services)Te tautawhi whanau me nga kaitautoko (Supporting and caring for the family, whanau and carers) (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1 and 6.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment - Case based 35% Individual Coursework
Assignment - Essay 35% Individual Coursework
Short written discussion (400words) 15% Individual Coursework
Short written discussion (400 words) 15% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Assignment - Case based
Assignment - Essay
Short written discussion (400words)
Short written discussion (400 words)

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 8 - 10 hours per week  in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect a block of two days of lectures, 8 - 10 hours hours per week of reading and thinking about the content and work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

The class teaching and activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery in a two-day seminar. Attendance is expected at scheduled activities in the course seminar to complete components of the course.
Seminar PowerPoint presentations will be made available after the in-class sessions.

Learning Resources

Recommended learning resources are listed in the course outline on Canvas. Additionally reading resources have been compiled to give the student a platform of information for the topics to be covered in the course. These are listed in Canvas and students are able to access these when they enrol. Some additional resources will also be given in class by speakers and powerpoint presentations made available with the speakers' approval.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students. 

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

This course has just been through a regular review by a panel of university academics and palliative care clinicians. Their recommendations have been integrated with the assistance of the Teaching and Learning Unit of the university.