Print Version

Effective: Summer 2017

Advisory: Advisory: not open to students with credit in GERN 55.
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU/UC
3 hours lecture. (36 hours total per quarter)

Description -
This course discusses the relationships with death, as an individual, as a health professional, and as a member of society. It explores the universal phenomena of dying, death, and bereavement with a special emphasis on academic and interpersonal skills that allow individuals to increase their understanding and appreciation of cultural differences and similarities, within, among, and between groups.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Explore own attitudes and beliefs toward death, dying and bereavement.
  2. Distinguish dying from death.
  3. Understand both individual and cultural attitudes and belief systems and how they influence both how we die and how we live and deal with the knowledge of death and loss.
  4. Describe some of the diverse and complex issues surrounding the end of life.
  5. Identify some of the resources available to deal with issues of life's end.
  6. List strategies for health care organizations to increase their cultural competence.
  7. Identify major skills important in providing culturally competent care at the end of life.
  8. Describe specific needs of terminally ill patients from Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Judeo-Christian background.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
Multimedia classroom

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Introduction to Death and Dying across Cultures
    1. Death Anxiety
    2. Accepting and Denying Death
  2. Attitudes, Beliefs, and Feelings across Cultures
    1. Personal Inventories
    2. The Interpersonal Side of Acceptance and Denial
  3. The Process of Dying across Cultures
    1. Stage Theories
    2. The Death System
  4. Improving End of Life Care: Hospice and Palliative Care
    1. Appropriate decision-making process with family members
    2. Attention to cultural differences in preferences for life sustaining procedures
    3. Needs of family members to play culturally prescribed roles
  5. On Being with Dying; End of Life Issues and Decisions; Advance Directives
    1. Sensitivity to differences in beliefs about use of opiates for pain control
    2. Sensitivity to differences in beliefs about nutrition and hydration at end of life
    3. Special focus on patients from diverse cultural backgrounds (Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic Filipino)
  6. Suicide, Euthanasia, Physician Assisted Death
    1. Statistic Overview
    2. Cultural Meanings
    3. Individual Meanings
  7. Grief and the Grieving Process
    1. Theoretical Perspectives and Types of Grief
    2. How do People éâ˛recover' from Grief
    3. Bereavement in Later Life
  8. Working with Grief across Cultures
    1. Special focus on widows from diverse cultural backgrounds
  9. Practical Matters around Death; The Funeral process; Rituals; Moving toward the Sacred
    1. What do Funerals Mean to Us?
    2. Common Elements
    3. Improving the Funeral Process. Major components of and strategies to implement culturally competent end of life care
    4. Improving our Communication and Understanding
    5. Assessments and Spiritual Histories
    6. Effective Method to move toward cultural competence.
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Participation in class discussions
  2. Midterm and Final Exams and individual student presentations
  3. Reflective Writing
Representative Text(s) -
Dickinson, G.E., and M. R Leming. Dying, Death, and Bereavement. Tenth Edition. Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2013.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture
  2. Small Group Discussion
  3. Multimedia
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Examples of weekly readings:
    1. Text book Dying, Death, and Bereavement é Annual Editions
    2. Weekly Chapter readings
  2. Example of Writing and Presentation Assignments for Midterm and Final
    1. Reflection paper on historical, cultural and personal experiences with death
    2. Final Presentation on topic of choice related to death, dying and bereavement.