This course is designed for anyone interested in law and medical ethics. It takes you through current professional guidelines and recent court cases, and demonstrates how key legal principles work in practice (in the UK). It also invites you to reflect on your own values and approach to life-sustaining treatment. This course will give you a firm grounding in the legal and ethical issues concerning best interests around serious medical treatments, particularly clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration.

Delivery: entirely online

Study time involved: 7 hours (or more with optional activities), to be done at your own pace

Assessment: self-assessment quizzes & reflection; auto-generated CPD certificate on completion

Cost: £40 (Gives access to course materials for 8 weeks)

Learning outcomes

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

  • recognise your own values and feelings about life-sustaining treatment and how these could influence your approach to patient care
  • outline key principles from the Mental Capacity Act and spell out how these relate to decisions about life-sustaining treatment
  • recognise an ‘Advance Decision to Refuse Treatment’ and explain the difference between this and a ‘Best Interests’ decision
  • outline the responsibilities of different roles such as Attorney and Deputy, and know how to involve family appropriately in decision-making
  • understand how to draw up a ‘best interests’ balance sheet about serious medical treatment
  • reflect on recent court cases and discuss the implications for clinical practice
  • understand how the Court of Protection operates in making best interests decisions about clinically assisted nutrition and hydration
  • navigate the latest professional guidance from the Royal College of Physicians and the British Medical Association
  • contribute to, or draw up, an action plan to improve best interests decision-making within a healthcare team or organisation.
How to purchase
  • Individuals: use the ‘buy now’ button above & set up your student account (The ‘username’ you choose will display in learner chat). If your organisation has given you a coupon code this is also how you use that.
  • Organisations can purchase all year round access and multiple places at reduced rates, Contact us for further information.

Students on placement: we offer 10 free places for placement students. Email your request to Professor Jenny Kitzinger providing 3 or 4 lines about yourself, your placement and why you’d like to join the course. We also offer free places to families with loved ones in PDoC.