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PT 450



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Course Information

This comprehensive course provides for an in depth journey into the major needs of the dying. The course material provides a very practical approach to this subject matter and leads students to a great awareness of what the dying really do need and want. This course is foundational for anyone who will be working with dying patients. Many issues and needs of the dying are examined with a focus on actual experiences with the dying. Students will examine and learn how to communicate more effectively with the dying. Needed skill sets will be examined, such as active listening and the development of compassionate communications. Students will also examine the physical and emotional experiences of the dying facing different life-challenging illnesses. The physiology of death is also examined. Issues of spirituality are presented with an emphasis on such needs of the dying. By studying the needs of the dying, students grow in awareness of how they may best provide supportive care at the time of life's transition stage. The role of the pastoral thanatologist in providing compassionate care becomes more real. Course Code: PT 450. Contact hours of education = 40 hours.

Prerequisite for this course: you must have successfully completed the course, GC 400, Death, Dying and Mourning, before enrolling in this course.

This course is particularly designed for those who would like to apply for Certification as a Certified Specialist in Pastoral Thanatology by the American Academy of Grief Counseling.

Instructor/Course Author:  Dominick L. Flarey, Ph.D, MBA, RN,BC, CH-C, FACHE

Link to Resume

E-mail: info@aihcp.org

TIME FRAME: You are allotted two years from the date of enrollment, to complete all of the courses in this continuing education program. There are no set time-frames, other than the two year allotted time. If you do not complete the courses within the two-year time-frame, you will be removed from the course and an "incomplete" will be recorded for you in our records. Also, if you would like to complete the courses after this two-year expiration time, you would need to register and pay the course tuition fee again.


  1. “The Needs of the Dying: a guide for bringing hope, comfort, and love to life’s final chapter,” by David Kessler. New York;Quill:2000. ISBN# 0-06-095821-9

You are required to order your own copy of the textbook. Please be sure to order your book as soon as possible so that you can begin your course of study.

AIHCP Online Bookstore: AIHCP provides an online bookstore stocked with all of the required textbooks, and/or materials required for its CE courses. To purchase this book online, click the access store link, go to the table of categories, right upper hand corner, and click on "Pastoral Thanatology." Access AIHCP Store: click here

Instructor: Your instructor for this course is Dominick L. Flarey, Ph.D, DCH, RN,BC, CH-C, FACHE a certified grief counselor, certified psychiatric-mental health nurse, certified spiritual counselor, and the executive director of the American Academy of Grief Counseling. Access information.

GRADING: You must achieve a passing score of at least 70% to complete this course and receive the 40 hours of awarded continuing education credit. There are no letter grades assigned. You will receive notice of your total % score. Those who score below the minimum of 70% will be contacted by the and options for completing additional course work to achieve a passing score, will be presented.

BOARD APPROVALS: The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc. is a licensed Continuing Education Provider in the State of California, Board of Registered Nursing, Provider # CEP 15595. Access information

Online Classroom Resouces and Tools

* Message Boards: each specialty program has an area to "post" on the message board. Students may post messages at anytime. Posting allows students to converse with those in the same specialty practice and to discuss issues/course content etc. Instructions for posting are provided in the online classrooms.

* Chat Rooms: each specialty has it's own unique "chat room." Inside of the classroom there is a schedule for "chat time" with students in your specific specialty practice. Participating in "chats" is voluntary. The chat sessions are used as means for students to come together and discuss course content or anything related to the courses and/or certification specialty.

* Examination Access: there is link to take you right to the online examination program where you can print out your examination and work with it. All examinations are formatted as "open book" tests. When you are ready, you can access the exam program at anytime and click in your responses to the questions. Full information is provided in the online classrooms.

* Student Resource Center: there is a link for access to a web page "Student Resource Center." The Resource Center provides for easy access to all of our policies/procedures and additional information regarding applying for certification. We also have many links to many outside reference sites, such as online libraries that you may freely access.

* Online Evaluation: there is a link in the classroom where you may access the course evaluation. All students completing a course, must, without exception, complete the course evaluation.

* Faculty Access Information: you will have access to your instructor's online resume/biography, as well as your instructor's specific contact information.

* Additional Learning Materials: some faculty have prepared additional "readings" and /or brief lecture notes to enhance your experience. All of these are available in the online classrooms.


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COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

1). Discuss society’s perceptions of death and dying.
2). Understand dying from the dying person’s perspective.
3). Discuss issues related to hope.
4). Explore and discuss the need of the dying to be listened to.
5). Discuss and share personal perspectives on death and dying.
6). Discuss the needs of the dying related to participating in decision making.
7). Discuss issues related to emotional expressions by the dying.
8). Define the major needs of dying patients.
9). Discuss society’s fear of death.
10). Define and discuss issues of participatory decision making.
11). Understand and discuss the physiology of pain.
12). Understand and discuss the psychology of pain.
13). Define and discuss major issues of spirituality in dying.
14). Define and discuss major issues related to dying children.
15). Define the physiology of death.
16). Discuss the issue of dying alone.
17). Identify major pastoral interventions to assist the dying with grace and dignity.
18). Identify major pastoral interventions for dealing with emotions of the dying.
19). Begin to conceptualize the role of the professional pastoral thanatologist.


1). Issues in death and dying.
2). The major needs of the dying
3). Truths about death and dying.
4). Listening to the dying.
5). Hope for the dying.
6). Images of life.
7). The dignity of life.
8). How to talk to the dying.
9). Relationship issues.
10). Cancer patients.
11). Expressing emotions.
12). Decision making.
13). Physiology of Pain.
14). Emotions of Pain.
15). Spirituality and Dying.
16). Children and Dying.
17). Physiology of Death.
18). The body and dying.

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