This course will provide an opportunity for students to discuss and reflect on the contemporary realities of medical practice which challenge some basic assumptions as to when death occurs and when is a person "dead". In addition, students will examine contemporary efforts to rediscover old wisdoms concerning care for dying patients and ways in which communities of faith might reclaim some of the ancient practices of ars moriendi, the "art of dying." Students examine the phenomena of chronic illness, suffering and dying from a variety of historical, biblical, theological, pastoral care, medical-physiological, psychosocial from a cross cultural perspective. Students also examine contemporary modalities of care for persons at the end of life, including tertiary palliative care, the hospice movement and ancillary "death with dignity" organizations. Course goals include developing the student's ability to care for persons with chronic and terminal illness in ways that are shaped by a variety of theological and religio-cultural understandings of suffering, dying and death. To do so with integrity, students will also explore dimensions of what constitutes health and wholeness, as well as grief and mourning and burial rituals from various religio-cultural perspectives.
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Hours per Week: