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Hospitalised Palliative Care - from a Philosophy of Care to Rigid Guidelines for Intervention?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Vibeke Graven, Professor Simon WoodsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Palliative care developed from hospice philosophy which considers dying as a natural process to be recognized as an important part of life and taken into account in the health care system. Cicely Saunders developed hospice philosophy from the idea of providing a place for end of life care to an approach to care that could be applied wherever dying people are encountered. In the United Kingdom there has been an urgent discussion of emerging evidence that attempts to transfer key principles of palliative care into acute hospitals has, in many respects, been a failure. The evidence suggests that, even against a background of maturing palliative care, a serious challenge remains for the management of the last hours and days of life when health care is predominantly ‘cure’ orientated and managerial in process. Drawing upon the UK’s experiences with the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), this article will discuss some of the paradigmatic tensions, which can appear when a palliative care approach is moved into mainstream healthcare in the hospital. It is timely to reflect upon such challenges as Denmark (as well as other Nordic countries) faces a similar demand to expand its much less mature palliative care in a similar direction. The lessons which can be learned from the UK are perhaps also common to other national contexts and might therefore serve as a valuable source of inspiration. This article therefore provides critical reflections on the uncritical adoption of the UK experiences.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Graven V, Woods S, Jacobsen-Hviid M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Omsorg. Nordisk Tidskrift for Palliativ Medisin

Year: 2016

Volume: 33

Issue: 2

Pages: 56-62

Print publication date: 01/07/2016

Acceptance date: 28/05/2016

Date deposited: 01/09/2016

ISSN (print): 0800-7489

Publisher: Fagbokforlaget