Winning posters from Berlin: In case of life-limiting illness: What is the most important for the public in Norway?


Poster presentations are an essential cornerstone of every EAPC Congress – this year at the 16th EAPC World Congressin Berlin more than 1,100 posters were on display representing the scientific rigour and commitment of people involved in palliative care from across the world. Bardo Driller and Lillian Karlsen from Norway explain the background to their award-winning poster.

Lillian Karlsen.

We’re delighted to be invited to write a short article for the EAPC blog about the background to our research work that led to our poster winning third prize at the recent EAPC World Congress in Berlin.

We were working within a project called ‘Together for relief’ in our local community health services in Fræna and Eide in Norway when we got the opportunity to collaborate with Molde University on a research project in palliative care. ‘Together for relief’ looked at several perspectives about the public’s perceptions of palliative care.

We experience in our daily work an ageing population and an associated increase in the number of palliative patients. At the same time, we see a lack of knowledge about the concept of palliative care among the public and we face mostly negative perceptions. But if we are to inform our policymakers and target educational strategies within healthcare services and the public, it is vital that we know something about the public’s understanding of palliative care. That was the reason for the survey among the public in our county, Møre and Romsdal,with the conclusion that people in Norway, especially in older age, value relief of pain and suffering as most important for them in the case of serious, life-limiting illness.

In 2016, ‘Together for relief’ became part of an innovation project that covered the whole county, ‘Implementation of Palliative Plan in Møre and Romsdal’. Within this project, we use the principles of advance care planning discussions, and document within a palliative plan the patient’s electronic records. The aim of palliative plan is to anticipate any potential challenges so that the patient and their family can experience the best possible quality of life through collaboration, planning and individual arrangements. It provides guidance to the family and healthcare providers, and reduces their decisional burden by following the patient’s goals, values, and beliefs. Since 2018, palliative plan has been offered to anyone in our county who has an incurable disease, in parallel with other treatment. We emphasised that the plan should be accessible both to cancer and non-cancer patients.

Pictured alongside their poster – left to right, Bardo Driller, Gunnel Lindseth and Bente Winsjansen.

During the implementation process, we got a lot of feedback from patients and relatives such as:

“My mother’s health became worse but we felt safe thanks to the palliative plan about what to do when challenges appeared. This was good for us and for our mother. As the plan was made early, her wishes, that were important to her were included.”

We were encouraged to go further in our efforts to inform the public. We gave presentations to politicians and the public locally and we published information in our local newspapers. Furthermore, we gave presentations nationally and internationally at a scientific and organisational level. For example we presented at EAPC congresses in Madrid 2017 and Bern 2018, at national palliative care conferences in Bodø 2018 and Stavanger 2016, and within a collaboration with the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the national guideline group in end-of-life care 2015-18. A new, official Norwegian Report on Palliative Care was issued in 2017: På liv og død (A matter of life or death). It reviewed existing palliative care programmes and commended the ‘Implementation of Palliative Plan’ as being important for future national programmes.

Norway faces an increasing demand for healthcare services in the community. We hope that our research strengthens awareness and positive perceptions towards palliative care among the public.

Kind regards and greetings from Norway!

More about the authors

Lillian Karlsen  works at the Health Innovation Centre in Kristiansund, Norway. The centre has a special focus on providing reasonable, high-quality health care and social services to everyone in need of them, regardless of age or diagnosis. Lillian is a PhD student in a public health programme.

Bardo Driller  works as senior consultant in palliative medicine and researcher at Møre and Romsdal Hospital trust, Norway. Bardo is also part of a PhD Programme in Medicine and Health Sciences at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.


Online abstract submission for #EAPC2020 now open!

If you’ve been inspired by Lillian and Bardo’s post, why not submit an abstract for the next EAPC World Research Congress? Visit the congress website for more information on the 11thEAPC World Research Congress, Palermo, Italy – 14 to 16 May 2020. Submit your abstract now. (Closing date: 15 October 2019.





This entry was posted in 16th EAPC World Congress Berlin, ADVOCACY & POLICY, RESEARCH and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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