Course Author: The Rev. Sue Wintz, M.Div., BCC


This course, When it’s Time to say Goodbye: Introduction to Spiritual Care at the End of Life, is written for students in clinical training programs of all disciplines including chaplaincy, graduate schools, and community faith, religious, and existential leaders who are new to end of life issues. Various aspects of end of life care will be presented and discussed, including the dying process and physiological changes, advance care planning, conflicts that may occur between dying persons and families, palliative care, and hospice. Issues of emotional and spiritual, religious, and existential distress will be identified as well as appropriate interventions, cultural, religious, spiritual and existential practices, and care of the family.


By the end of this course the learner will be able to:

  • Recognize and understand the physiological changes that occur during the dying process.
  • Understand and articulate the different spiritual, religious, and existential beliefs about dying and death and articulate the appropriate interventions.
  • Identify the issues of emotional and spiritual distress that are experienced by patients facing the end of life, articulate appropriate interventions and demonstrate their application.
  • Understand the conflicts that can occur between the dying person, family/family of choice, and associated communities and articulate appropriate interventions.
  • Articulate the role of spiritual, religious or existential support, practices, and cultural norms in coping, dying, grief, bereavement, and after death care of the body.
  • Summarize advance care planning documents and their use • Articulate knowledge of the history, current philosophy, and goals of palliative care.
  • Explain the hospice concept, goals of care, and distinguish its differences from palliative care.
  • Understand how to participate effectively as a community faith leader in providing coordinated care with an interdisciplinary health care team at the end of life.


Course Outline

  • Introduction
  • Physiological process of death
  • Emotional process of death
  • Spiritual process of death
  • Providing end of life care
  • Conflict at end of life
  • Advance care planning
  • Hospice and palliative care
  • Spiritual distress and pain
  • Talking about death and dying
  • Palliative Care
  • Hospice
  • Care after Death
  • Summary
  • References


When It's Time to Say Goddbye: Introduction to Spiritual Care at the End of Life

  • Number of Credits Towards a Degree at SCA University of Theology and Spirituality - 5


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University of Theology and Spirituality

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