Faculty of Medical Sciences Online Learning


Prescribing in Older People (E-learning)

  • Offered for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Catherine Dotchin
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Off Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
Semester 3 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


• To provide an evidence based knowledge about the use of medicines in older people
• To inform students about the safe and effective use of medicines in this group
• To inform students about the planning and prioritisation of medicines for older patients
• To inform students about the management of common conditions in older people, specifically stroke,Parkinson’s disease, dementia, urinary incontinence and urinary outflow obstruction, falls and syncope
• To inform students of the common conditions that can arise in older people as a result of medications
• To inform students about end-of-life care

Outline Of Syllabus

• Demographics and challenges of therapeutics in older people
• Medicines use by older people
• Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in older people
• Drugs causing particular problems in older people
• Adverse drug reactions and inappropriate treatments in older people
• Concordance
• Stroke: epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatments
• Dementia: epidemiology, pathology, disease modification, symptomatic treatment, prevention, assessment of response and on-going research
• Parkinson’s disease: pathophysiology, management including management of associated symptoms and current issues 
• Falls and syncope: epidemiology, intrinsic causes of falls and their relationship with medications; epidemiology, evaluation and treatment of syncope
• Management of urological conditions (overactive bladder syndrome, LUTS due to benign prostatic enlargement, prostate cancer
• Management of patients during end-of-life care

What Our Students Say

"...as a student I felt well supported throughout the module, not just by supervisors but by peers as well. The online forum/exercises were excellent at developing networks and the shared learning from a variety of backgrounds, helped provide alternative viewpoints/perspectives for consideration which I found highly valuable. The admin team at Newcastle are an excellent resource as well with myself being IT challenged they helped me a great deal and I found them consistently upbeat, friendly and nothing was ever too much trouble for the team. I would have to say there help and assistance was brilliant!"

"The content was very well structured and covered such a wide range of topics I could not think of anything else that could be included. The learning sessions were well delivered using a variety of learning strategies, these were really informative and enjoyable! The Module was more than adequately supported with robust and high quality resource materials which saved me hours of library time! This is the first time I have done an online module that was so interactive, creative in delivery and enjoyable at the same time. I was so happy with my learning experience and results that I wanted to continue on and complete my study to complete the full Masters programme!" - Carol, Prescribing Module Student 2017
"Fantastic module which allowed me the opportunity to study at my own pace whilst working a full time job as a doctor." - Rhonda, Graduate
"The diversity of the material covered provided strong grounding for those interested in ageing research." - Eugene, current student (2016)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
CategoryActivityNumberLengthStudent HoursComment
Guided Independent Study Assessment preparation and completion 3 20:00 60:00 Student research to further apply course content to assessments
Guided Independent Study Directed research and reading 10 6:00 60:00 Online content and library materials
Guided Independent Study Skills practice 1 2:00 2:00 Application of knowledge to case studies online
Guided Independent Study Reflective learning activity 10 2:00 20:00 eJournal/reflective blog
Guided Independent Study Student-led group activity 4 2:00 8:00 Peer review via discussion board
Guided Independent Study Independent study 10 3:00 30:00 Supplemental reading
Guided Independent Study Online Discussion 10 2:00 20:00 Discussion board
Total       200:00  
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

All activities relate directly to the learning outcomes above as follows:
Directed research and reading using the online content and library materials leads to all the knowledge outcomes.
Applying knowledge to case studies as skills practise leads to all the skills outcomes.
The reflective learning activities map to the analysis of challenges to safe and effective prescribing practice in older people as well as to identification of barriers to effective drug treatment in older people and designing potential solutions.
Peer review, discussion board activity and supplemental reading map to all of the knowledge and skills outcomes.
The skills outcomes are obtained by practical case based clinical problem solving exercises.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
DescriptionSemesterWhen SetPercentageComment
Written exercise 3 M 30 Material for a scripted PowerPoint presentation.
Written exercise 3 M 35 1500 words - using case studies students will report on their design of solutions for treatment (feeds forward onto essay)
Essay 3 M 35 1500 words - medication review from case studies used in report
Formative Assessments
DescriptionSemesterWhen SetComment
PC Examination 3 M Multiple choice questions. Self-assessment with feedback.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The presentation tests student skills in critiquing articles on topic as well as subject knowledge. 
The report and essay test the students’ ability to analyse and synthesise information relating to therapeutics in older people.
The multiple choice questions allow students to monitor their understanding against the learning outcomes.

Reading Lists


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