Rural palliative care in Northern Norway

Forskere: May-Lill Johansen, AFE og Bente Ervik, UNN
Prosjektperiode: 2014 – 2021/22
Finansiering: Nasjonalt Senter for Distriktsmedisin (NSDM)


After the Norwegian “Coordination Reform” in 2012 there has been increased focus on collaboration between primary and specialist health services for palliative patients. However, there are few studies focusing on interprofessional collaboration in the communities and between primary and specialist health services from the perspective of local health workers. National and international studies have provided important knowledge about significant factors contributing to good palliative home care; however, we lack information about why this knowledge often is difficult to convert in daily practice. Patients’ access to palliative care in Northern Norway has improved, but there are still challenges in providing qualitative good treatment and care as well as equal access to palliative care in rural areas. By exploring this subject from the perspective of primary health professionals, this study will provide important knowledge to enhance collaboration and thus improve care for patients and their families.


The overall aim of the study is to gain knowledge about how to improve palliative care in rural areas through better collaboration between professionals in both primary and specialized care, according to the perspective of local health workers.


A qualitative focus group and interview study in rural Northern Norway, involving 52 primary care based health professionals including district nurses, general practitioners, oncology nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Five uni-professional focus group discussions were followed by five interprofessional discussions and six individual interviews. Transcripts were analysed thematically.

Published papers from the study:

Johansen, May-Lill; Ervik, Bente. Teamwork in primary palliative care: general practitioners’ and specialised oncology nurses’ complementary competencies. BMC Health Services Research 2018; Volum 18 (159). ISSN 1472-6963.s doi: 10.1186/s12913-018-2955-7

Ervik, Bente; Brøndbo, Birgit; Johansen, May-Lill. Adapting and Going the Extra Mile: A Qualitative Study of Palliative Care in Rural Northern Norway From the Perspective of Healthcare Providers. Cancer Nursing 2020. ISSN 0162-220X.s doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000815

Two more papers will be published in 2021/22.