Department of Clinical Medicine
Research group

Research Group for Palliative Care

Palliative care and palliative medicine focus on symptom relief and the best possible quality of life for patients with serious incurable disease or at the end of life. The Research Group for Palliative Care has projects within ethics and communication, pain and pain management, palliative surgery, organization of palliative care services, and end-of-life care.

Bilde av solnedgang på stranden
Eli V.

Main content

The Research Group for Palliative Care was established in 2015. The group originates from the University of Bergen and the Regional Centre of Excellence for Palliative Care, Western Norway, at Haukeland University Hospital.  

The group is affiliated with Department of Clinical Medicine K1.  

Group members

Medical students and physicians with limited research projects are linked to the group.


Ongoing projects

iLIVE: Live well, die well. A research program to support living until the end.

Coordinator: Prof. Agnes van der Heide, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Principal investigators in Norway: Katrin Ruth Sigurdardottir and Dagny Faksvåg Haugen
Project period: 2019 - 2023
International multicenter study with participants from 13 countries. In Norway, two hospitals and a nursing home participate. The overall objective is to contribute to better care for the dying, by exploring the worries, expectations and choices of seriously ill and dying patients and their relatives. A volunteer training program to support dying patients and their families in hospital has been developed and implemented, and a Core Outcome Set for studies in the dying phase has been agreed upon. 
Project website.

Care for the dying during the Covid-19 pandemic

As part of the iLIVE project we have conducted an open, web-based questionnaire study about the experiences with end-of-life care during the pandemic. Bereaved relatives, healthcare professionals, and trained volunteers have participated.   
Publication from the project.

Drug-drug interactions involving opioids and other medications used for symptom relief in palliative care cancer patients  

Principal Investigator: Aleksandra Kotlinska-Lemieszek, Karol Marcinkowski University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland.

This project is a cooperation between the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University for Science and Technology in Trondheim, and a researcher in Poland regarding literature reviews on drugs for symptom relief.
Published articles:  
Drug-drug interactions involving opioids used for pain treatment in cancer patients: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26396499
Drug-drug interactions involving drugs used for symptom relief: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30776538/

The opioid study is being updated in 2023 and a new international publication is planned.

Systematic reviews on pain management

Researcher Rae F. Bell er retired, but still linked to our research group. She participates in international studies on the effect of drugs used for pain relief. In June 2023 a Cochrane review on cannabis-based drugs and medical cannabis for adult cancer patients has been published: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37283486/

Completed projects  

ERANet-LAC CODE (Care Of the Dying Evaluation): Care for dying cancer patients as perceived by bereaved relatives  

Coordinator: Dagny Faksvåg Haugen, University of Bergen and Regional Centre of Excellence for Palliative Care, Western Norway, Haukeland University Hospital
Project period: 2017 - 2020
The CODE project included an international post-bereavement survey after cancer deaths in hospital. The project had participants from four countries in Europe and three in South America. Seven hospitals in Norway participated. The objectives were to present the current state of care for dying cancer patients in hospitals and introduce interventions to improve weak areas of care.
More information:  https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT03566732?term=CODE&rank=1&tab=results

The University of Bergen hosted the final conference of the ERANet-LAC CODE project in November 2019: A Good Ending - Good for All. https://www.uib.no/en/k1/119363/good-ending-%E2%80%93-good-all

Booklet with ideas and experiences from the project: https://www.uib.no/sites/w3.uib.no/files/attachments/innovations_umbrella_booklet_final.pdf

End-of-life care: Patients’ wishes and relatives’ experiences, with special reference to communication and advance care planning   

PhD project for Consultant Nina Elisabeth Hjorth, who defended her thesis in June 2022. More information and thesis: https://www.uib.no/nye-doktorgrader/154442/forh%C3%A5ndssamtaler-kan-skape-trygghet-ved-alvorlig-sykdom   

Treatment of colorectal cancer with metastatic spread at diagnosis

Principal investigator: Hartwig Kørner, University of Bergen and Stavanger University Hospital
Project period: 2017 - 2022
This project was a register study investigating the fate of patients with metastases from colorectal cancer upon diagnosis. Publication from the project: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35527055/

EAPC Basic Dataset to describe a palliative care cancer population

Principal Investigator: Katrin Ruth Sigurdardottir
Project period: 2013–2018
As part of her PhD project, Consultant Katrin Sigurdardottir developed a set of variables to describe a palliative care cancer population. The dataset has been pilot tested and further refined.  
See  https://oslo-universitetssykehus.no/avdelinger/kreftklinikken/avdeling-for-kreftbehandling/prc-research-results#eapc-basic-dataset
Articles from the project:
Development of the dataset.
Pilot testing of the dataset and corresponding EAPC blog post.