Unit 12: Physiological Principles for Health and social care

Unit 12:
Physiological Principles for Health and  social care

Unit code:

QCF level:

Credit value:

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• Aim
The aim of this unit is to provide a holistic overview of the structure and functioning of the human body as appropriate for those working in health and social care.
• Unit abstract
The focus of this unit is on how the body functions as a whole rather than on detailed anatomy and physiology from a biological perspective. The emphasis is on exploring those aspects of body functioning which impact on care delivered in health and social care settings.
Learners will gain an understanding of the main structures of the body and the appropriate terminology encountered when working with health professionals. Learners need to recognise the names of key structures, their positions in the body and main functions. They will explore the purpose behind gathering routine data from individuals accessing health and social care services as well as routine variations.
• Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this unit a learner will:
1 Know the structure and functioning of the human body
       2 Understand the relationship between body functioning and relevant detailed anatomy and physiology
       3  Understand how routine data collected in health and social care informs the planning of care for individuals
        4 Be able to relate routine variations in body structure and functioning to care received by individuals.
Unit content
Know the structure and functioning of the human body
Main anatomical features: gross features eg trunk, limbs, head, abdomen, pelvis; skeleton eg names of limb bones, pelvis, regions of vertebral column, bone groups, principles of joints, support, blood cell functions and calcium reservoir of bone; soft tissues eg contractility of muscle, conductivity of nervous tissue, structural function of ligaments and tendons, secretory and absorptive function of epithelial tissues; body organs eg heart, liver, kidney, lungs, position and overall functions, key terminology associated with them eg cardiac, hepatic, renal, pulmonary
Body systems: main structures and functions of eg cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, excretory, nervous, endocrine, locomotor, integumentory, sensory, reproductive
Functioning: to maintain life (respiration, feeding, excretion); for other activities (sensory perception, movement, coordination, reproduction)
Metabolism: chemical nature of body activity, rate at which energy used; changes in metabolic rate eg during exercise, over lifespan
Growth: production of more cells eg during development, in tumours; increased size of cells eg adipose tissue in obesity; tissue turnover/replacement eg in skin, hair, nails; destruction of tissues eg from wear and tear; depletion of tissues eg from disuse, starvation; as increasing complexity (differentiation and specialisation) eg childhood and adolescent development
Interactions: eg in digestion and transport of nutrients, in propripception (position and balance), pulmonary functioning, excretion, temperature regulation
Understand the relationship between body functioning and relevant detailed anatomy and physiology
Everyday activities: breathing, eating, excreting, physical activity
Detailed anatomy: selected tissues eg muscle, bone, epithelia; cellular structures as appropriate eg cell membrane, chromosomes
Detailed functioning: physiology eg gaseous exchange in lungs, absorption of nutrients, principle of filtration and selective reabsorption in kidneys, metabolic response to exercise
Regulation of internal activities: regulation of eg body temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, blood sugar, urine output
Coordination: role of endocrine system, role of the autonomic nervous system and links to the central nervous system
Homeostasis: principle of feedback loops to raise or lower relevant parameters
unit 24 understanding the learning process

3  Understand how routine data collected in health and social care informs the planning of care for individuals
Measures: as relevant eg visual observation, weight/height, temperature, pulse, respiration rate, blood pressure, food intake, fluid intake, fluid output, indicator tests on urine (eg glucose, protein); recording of measures: correct units, tabulated, charts, graphs, interpretation of records
Information: as relevant to measurement taken eg heart rate, peak flow, over/under weight, hydration, diabetic stability, infection
Accuracy: sources of error, reliability, validity; concept of normal range, hypo- and hyper- values
Derived measures: as relevant eg Body Mass Index (BMI), fluid balance, nutritional health (intake against requirement eg energy balance); monitoring (regular recording) variations in measures over time
Care: monitoring course of health/disorder/disease, care planning, care routines, professionals involved, reporting data to professionals, recognising need for emergency responses
Ethical considerations: when taking measures and using data eg individual rights, dignity, privacy
Be able to relate routine variations in body structure and functioning to care received by individuals
Age: comparison of structural and functional changes between young adulthood, later life and old age; if appropriate, developmental change during childhood and adolescence
-physical: absence, loss or impaired function of tissues, organs and systems eg incontinence, ataxia; degeneration of structure eg bone in osteoporosis, cartilage in osteoarthritis, pulmonary tissue in emphysema, neural tissue in Parkinson’s disease
-psychological: effects eg confidence, cognitive abilities, invasion of privacy (eg assistance with toileting, bathing)
-social: effects eg isolation due to hearing loss, loss of mobility, autonomy
Common disorders: as relevant eg diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune related, pulmonary disease, inherited, congenital, degenerative
Infections: as encountered in eg wounds, respiratory tract, urinary tract; signs and symptoms related to physiology; principles of an immunological response and factors that influence it eg age, nutritional status, immunosuppression from cancer therapy or underlying disease states
Routine care: activities of daily living; general consequences for care or treatment eg by drugs, surgery; infection control; rehabilitation; principles of palliative care

Learning outcomes and assessment criteria

Learning outcomes
Assessment criteria for pass

On successful completion of
The learner can:

this unit a learner will:

LO1 Know the structure and

outline the main anatomical features of the human body

functioning of the human

discuss how body systems interact to ensure the body


functions and grows

LO2 Understand the relationship

explain normal body responses to everyday activities

between body functioning

discuss how body responses are explained by cellular

and relevant detailed

and tissue structure and physiology

anatomy and physiology

explain how the body coordinates its internal activities

LO3 Understand how routine data

explain the recording and use of routine measures in

collected in health and social

health and social care

care informs the planning of

assess how routine measures provide information about

care for individuals

body functioning

examine how information about body functioning may

inform care planning for individuals

LO4 Be able to relate routine

explain how age may affect body structure and

variations in body structure


and functioning to care

assess the impact of common disorders on body

received by individuals.

structure and functioning

relate the effects of common disorders and infection to

the care routinely given to individuals affected by them.

This unit has links with, for example:
Unit 11: The Role of Public Health in Health and Social Care
Unit 18: Complementary Therapies
Unit 29: Health Promotion.
This unit also has links with the National Occupational Standards in Health and Social Care. See Annexe B for mapping.
Essential requirements
Access to anatomical models of the skeleton, spine, torso and body organs will be needed to demonstrate the nature and proportions of body structures in relation to external features.
Employer engagement and vocational contexts
Guest speakers involved in providing care for individuals who are experiencing physiological disorders or infections would be beneficial to provide a vocational context to the delivery of the unit.