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The Palliative Care Research Group

Overall aim
This Gothenburg based group of multi-professional and interdisciplinary researchers collaborates on person-centred palliative care with the aim to enhance patient and family outcomes in relation to diverse aspects of quality of life, collaborative decision making and end-of-life related transitions in the context of palliative care. We investigate specialized as well as generic (integrated in diverse health care organizations) palliative care for adult and elderly people with diverse disease trajectories at the end-of-life independent of their medical diagnosis. Our research is tailored for the special needs in Swedish health care. The ultimate goal is better palliative care practice contributing to increased wellbeing for patients and families.

Challenges in palliative care
The starting point for our research is a number of key characteristics in the field of current palliative care and related research. In Sweden, palliative care is unevenly developed which means people in need of palliative care have unequal access to palliative care services. In Swedish palliative care there is a need to move evidence into practice, which requires supporting knowledge translation and using innovative dissemination strategies. There is a need to support the education of health care professionals in providing palliative care and at the same time increase public awareness of palliative interventions related to end-of-life care issues.
Swedish palliative care research has been characterized by small-scale descriptive studies. In order to work collaboratively and conduct larger scale studies we need to:

  • work in interdisciplinary research teams including collaboration with clinicians and international experts
  • develop coordinated research that focuses on building programs of research (vs. isolated studies)
  • conduct research moving from description to intervention research and focus on patient outcomes.

Conceptual basis: Palliative Care Philosophy
Palliative care has developed practically and theoretically during the last half century. An essential component in palliative care is that patients, significant others as well as professionals are conceptualized as persons. Essential features of the view of the patient as a person in palliative care context are the patient’s identity, biography and family. Living with advanced illness, such as a decaying and deteriorating body, at the end-of-life often encompasses practical, experiential and existential issues.

Decreased personal autonomy and increased dependency on others is apparent. As medical knowledge advances and opportunities to treat diseases increase, the period a patient need palliative care will extend and vary, from days to years. Transitions associated with this situation can be facilitated by proactive support related to disease progression, deterioration of the body, identity, grief and bereavement. Specific palliative interventions include care planning, decision-making support and coaching, symptom alleviation, facilitating timely communication and family empowerment.

Research Projects

Publications from the group

Investigating palliative care is of special significance given the approaching demographic changes in society with a larger amount of elderly people living with needs of palliative care over time. In order to contribute with significant knowledge, this group and its collaborative partners make possible to bring together expertise and resources to enable coordination of palliative care research across health care contexts. This includes instruments and methods required for comparisons and multicentre studies. The research group’s close collaboration with clinicians enhances implementation of both the research programme and research results.


Research Group Leader: Professor Joakim Öhlén joakim.ohlen@fhs.gu.se



Research group leader
Professor Joakim Öhlén

Associate professors
Ingela Henoch
Eva Lidén
Margareta Brännström
Anneli Ozanne

Helene Berglund

PhD students
Ramona Schenell
Susanna Böling
Hannan Hamdan Alshehri

Collaborating partners

Mid Sweden University, Ersta Sköndal University College, Skövde University College, Sophia Hemmet University College, Linköping University, Karolinska Institutet and within the University of Gothenburg Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology.

Clinical collaborations include various departments at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Angered Local Hospital, Bräcke diakoni Hospice in Gothenburg, Skaraborg Hospital in Skövde, Ersta Hospital in Stockholm, Local Specialised palliative home care services in Skellefteå, Luleå, Sundsvall and Östersund.

Page Manager: Karin Mossberg|Last update: 11/3/2014

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