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An introduction to health and social care, Short Course

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University rank #501 (WUR) Online
This An introduction to health and social care module at The Open University UK provides an authoritative overview of health and social care, with real-life case studies taking you deep into the experience of receiving care and working in care services.


We all depend on care services at some time in our lives – at home; in hospitals, clinics or GP surgeries; or in community and residential settings.

This An introduction to health and social care from The Open University UK takes you into the lives of care workers and care service users through in-depth case studies which are often brought to life through audio and video resources. 

The module books are written in clear, simple language and a friendly, thought-provoking style. Frequent activities will set you thinking – drawing on your own ideas and experience to deepen your learning and help you understand the essentials of good practice.

If you want to share your ideas, you can join online forums with other students and our tutors. You'll develop the academic skills needed to thrive at university through activities that are threaded through the module material. The module also teaches you, quickly and simply, how to use information and communication technology for study.

  • Block 1: paints a broad picture of care in the UK, ranging from the caring within families, to primary health care, acute care in hospitals and social care in the community. You'll explore the diversity and sensitivity of care situations, the wide variety of modern care services, the interconnections between them and what it is like to give and to receive care.
  • Block 2: explores the impact of care needs and care services on people’s sense of identity and self-worth. Care can make deep inroads into personal lives and life narratives, so it's essential that care workers are sensitive to this and provide appropriate support. They need skills in communication and in ways of group working, so that lives are enhanced by care, rather than damaged. It also asks how a community can respond to the needs of different groups of people. An in-depth case study of a neighbourhood renewal programme enables you to assess whether such schemes can improve people’s health and wellbeing. You'll also examine the work of services, agencies and carers against a background of rapid social change across the UK.
  • Block 3: explores the settings in which care takes place and is managed. You consider a wide variety of care environments, from domestic homes, to residential and hospital settings, exploring their physical, social and psychological impact and the extent to which they are enabling or disabling. You also consider how people become attached to places and what happens when they have to leave them.
  • Block 4: examines how care can go wrong and what individuals can do to try to prevent this. You explore the crucial role of record keeping and the challenges of preserving confidentiality in a busy workplace. You consider the pressure on care workers to be accountable, and you explore the roles of research evidence and protocols in ensuring high standards of care.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
  • Credits
    60 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode

Programme Structure

You will learn

This module is a compulsory part of all OU professional programmes in health and social care. It is designed to provide a broad foundation of essential knowledge and skills for studies in the care field. 

It provides a thorough and supported programme to develop the skills of independent learning that all students require, particularly the skill of communicating effectively in writing.

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Academic Requirements

This is a key introductory OU level 1 module. OU level 1 module provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, which help you to progress to module at OU level 2. This module is an ideal place to start your degree studies if you want to draw on your experience of caring, no matter how informal.

Tuition Fee


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