The Learning Catalog

Legal Principles & Decision Making in Practice

Online Courses


This course is designed to address the major legal and ethical issues related to informed consent and decision making that social service and health care professionals encounter when working with older adults and people with disabilities. It discusses the elements of informed consent and explains why it is needed, both ethically and legally. It describes important terms such as capacity and competence and how to understand the difference between the two. You will find vignettes, throughout the course that illustrate these concepts in practice situations.

*You can register for this course individually or as part of a certificate program.

Learner Feedback:

“This course helped expand my understanding of legal issues and ethical concerns related to older adults.”


  • Explain the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, and justice.
  • Describe why autonomy and safety can create ethical and legal problems.
  • Explain why informed consent is needed, both ethically and legally.
  • Distinguish between competence and capacity.
  • Name the different kinds of guardianships used by the courts and how they are used.
  • Name the different kinds of advance care directives.

Course Outline

  • Pre-course Competency Assessment
  • Section I: Course Overview
  • Section II: Background and Scope
  • Section III: Informed Consent
  • Section IV: Capacity and Competence
  • Section V: Guardianships or Conservatorships
  • Section VI: Advance Care Directives
  • Section VII: Course Summary and Resources
  • Course Quiz
  • Post-course Competency Evaluation
  • Certificate of Completion

Course Policies

For information about refunds, cancellations, accommodations and to contact us please visit the policies page.

Accessibility Information

All online courses are self-paced and are designed as reading-based and include interactive multimedia components including simulations, video, audio, and discussion boards.

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