Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Demographic changes in Australia, such as population ageing, advances in disease management and changed funding models in health care have resulted in an increased burden of chronic illness. Chronic illness now represents an increasing proportion of attendance for paramedics. Thus, this unit increases students' understanding of the pathophysiology of a range of chronic illnesses, the impact of these illnesses on the wellbeing of the individual and interventions commonly associated with these illnesses. The unit will focus on the concepts of 'treat and discharge', 'treat and transport' and 'treat and refer'. Development of the Extended Care Paramedic role (ECP), patient outcomes, and the patient journey will be examined in relation to modes of health assessment and management. The experiences and healthcare needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for whom the burden of chronic disease is higher than the non-Indigenous population, will be explored.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the effects of over and under triaging of the chronically ill patient;  (GA4, 6)

LO2 - Analyse chronic illness states in the context of pre-hospital management; (GA4, 10)

LO3 - Relate the concepts of treat and discharge; treat and transport; and treat and refer to pre-hospital management of the patient with chronic illness; (GA4, 5, 6, 9)

LO4 - Reflect on the experience of illness in relation to the person, family and community  including experiences of people from culturally diverse backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; (GA4, 5)

LO5 - Evaluate the role of paramedics within a range of current and emerging management models of pre-hospital management of the patient with chronic illness. (GA6, 10)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.

CAA Competency Standards:

The Council of Ambulance Authorities Paramedic Professional Competency Standards developed in this unit are: 

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

1.a.8 practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

1.b.2 Collaborate effectively in interprofessional practice 

3, 4

1.b.3 Communicate effectively in interprofessional practice using effective and appropriate skills to provide information, advice, instruction and professional opinion to colleagues, patients, their relatives and carers

3, 4

1.b.4 Function as an advocate for patients, advocate groups and their rights relating to health care

4, 5 

2.a.1 Gather appropriate information as it relates to assessment of a patient’s health status

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

2.b.1 Use knowledge, reasoning and problem-solving skills to determine appropriate judgements and actions

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

 2.b.2 Contribute effectively to multidisciplinary team work

3, 4

2.b.3 Formulate specific and appropriate management plans 

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

2.b.4 Provide safe, effective and appropriate care

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

2.c.1 Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the care plan and modify it accordingly

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 


Topics will include:

Chronic disease states

  • Types of illnesses
  • Management plans
  • Effects on the health system
  • Effects on the patient

Chronic illness

  • Specific and non-specific presentations
  • Multidisciplinary management
  • Complicating factors

The patient journey

  • Factors that contribute to health and wellbeing
  • The experience of illness in relation to the person, family, community
  • The effect of pre-hospital involvement and education 
  • Experiences of chronic illness for culturally diverse groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Paramedic role in chronic disease

  • Extended Care Paramedic
  • Treat and discharge, treat and transport, treat and refer
  • Assessment and triage
  • Multidisciplinary approach 

Decision making

  • Triage
  • Treatment
  • Transport
  • Referral

Factors affecting decision making

  • Paramedic experience and knowledge of the chronically ill patient
  • Availability of alternative care models
  • High workload
  • Restrictions in practice
  • Evolving modes of practice in response to changing demographics, particularly, the ageing population  

Continuum of care

  • Chronic disease states
  • Local protocols, guidelines and restrictions
  • Alternative models of care
  • Patient education
  • Health care worker education

Management models

  • Low acuity pathways
  • Referrals
  • Extended Care Paramedic
  • Education
  • Health advisory centres

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is delivered to practising paramedics who generally work rotating shifts. As such the unit is delivered fully online to allow the flexibility required by students who may not be able to attend on campus or in synchronous mode. As students are currently paramedic practitioners, a teaching and learning strategy which places them at the centre, by drawing upon their own experiences best meets the learning needs of this cohort. This unit requires students to undertake 150 hours of focused learning to achieve the unit learning outcomes. 

Flexible asynchronous online learner-centred lessons are used to support student learning. There is a particular focus on the construction of knowledge via an online portfolio. Case study methodology is utilized within this unit to further draw upon student experience and to apply knowledge in context. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy adopted in this unit builds the depth of student learning by taking a progressive approach measurement of learning outcomes and graduate attributes. Assessment tasks are sequenced so that students can demonstrate knowledge through a series of discussions, assimilate this knowledge by integrating it into an education brochure and apply this learning within a case study. Weighting and sequencing of assessments reflects this progression.

The discussion portfolio and group work enables students to discuss, explore and articulate the knowledge gained in the unit and to demonstrate their depth of knowledge in the pre-hospital management of the chronically ill patient, including people from diverse cultural backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The brochure allows students to creatively present effective communication on chronic illness in a visual media to a specific population group. The case study enables students to apply values, knowledge, skills and attitudes to a pre-hospital scenario, providing the opportunity for students to consolidate knowledge developed throughout the unit and to think critically and reflectively.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Discussion portfolio (800 words)


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10

Healthcare worker education brochure (1200 words)


LO2, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10

Case Study (2000 words)


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

AIHW (2016). Australia's health 2016. Australia's health series no. 15. Cat. no. AUS 199. Canberra: AIHW. Retrieved from

Burggraf, V., Kim, K., & Knight, A. (2015). Healthy aging principles and clinical practice for clinicians. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health.

Curtis, K. & Ramsden, C. (2016). Emergency and trauma care: for nurses and paramedics (2nd ed.). Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier.

Gordis, L. (2014). Epidemiology (5th ed). Chatswood: Elsevier. 

Health Workforce Australia. (2013). Health LEADS Australia: The Australian health leadership framework. Adelaide: Health Workforce Australia. Retrieved from

Jones, K. & Creedy, D. (2012). Health and human behaviour (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Larsen, P. D., & Lubkin, I. M. (2016). Chronic illness: Impact and intervention (9th ed.). Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett.

National Health Priority Action Council (NHPAC). (2006). National chronic disease strategy. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. 

Talbot, L. & Verinder, G. (2014). Promoting health: The primary health care approach (5th ed.). Chatswood, New South Wales: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier

World Health Organisation. (2014). Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2014. Retrieved from

Yashin, A., Stallard, E., Land, K., & SpringerLink. (2016). Biodemography of aging determinants of healthy life span and longevity. (The Springer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis, 40).

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