Palliative care

Palliative care involves the treatment and care of terminally ill patients aimed at improving their quality of life. It also involves caring for the patient’s relatives.

Publisert 04. februar 2020 | Sist oppdatert 04. februar 2020

The Norwegian official report NOU 2017: 16 På liv og død – Palliasjon til alvorlig syke og døende (On Life and Death – Palliative care of the seriously ill and dying) describes the field. In addition to caring for dying patients, palliative care also involves follow-up of the patient from diagnosis of the terminal illness through to their death. This summary deals with the late palliative phase, during which the patient has a short life expectancy.

This patient group has many and complex challenges that require health care services at different levels and involves an interdisciplinary medical caregiving approach. Patients in this situation are characterized by the fact that their need for help increases as their health condition and level of functioning deteriorate. Three-quarters of those who die receive municipal health care services. Consequently, in order to reassure the patient and their relatives in their everyday lives, it is essential that the service provision is of the necessary quality, available around the clock and offered regardless of which municipality the patient lives in.

This is a large field that overlaps with numerous fields including geriatrics, dementia care, oncology, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. Omsorg: Nordisk tidsskrift for palliativ medisin (Care: Nordic journal of palliative medicine) is the only journal within the field of palliative medicine in the Nordic region. Consequently, in order to obtain an overview of the field of palliative care in the Norwegian municipalities, we have performed a systematic review of the last 10 annual volumes of the journal Omsorg. Of the 400 articles reviewed, 43 were of particular interest for the municipal service provision. Based on this review, the following sub-areas were identified: co-determination, quality development and competence needs, organisation of the palliative care services in the municipalities, collaboration with the specialist health service (coordinated care pathway), various tools/systems within palliative care in the municipalities and support for surviving relatives (grief and bereavement support work). Based on these sub-areas, we performed various searches in Oria, Swemed +, Pubmed and Google Scholar. This selection was limited to peer-reviewed articles from the last five years, and a total of 103 scientific articles were included in the work on this report.