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Donation to research on early hospital-based palliative care

The research group in front of the Faculty of Medicine's donation tree.
The research group in front of the Faculty of Medicine's donation tree. From left: Juliet Jacobsen, Eva Brun, Jenny Klintman and Mikael Segerlantz

The Department of Clinical Sciences, Medical Oncology, in Lund, one of six departments at the Faculty of Medicine and the largest at the Lund University, has received a significant financial boost thanks to an anonymous donor. The grant of just over five million kroner is to be used within the framework of the project The Supportive and Early Palliative Care Lab, which focuses on developing future patient-friendly palliative research and its use in a hospital environment.

In Sweden, roughly 90,000 people die each year and around 80 percent of these are estimated to have been in need of palliative care, a health and medical care that aims to alleviate physical, psychological, social and existential suffering and promote the quality of life for patients with progressive, incurable illness or injury. The activities at The Supportive and Early Palliative Care Lab have a clear patient focus and the research is focused on early integration of palliative care in serious illness. - We are very grateful for this donation, which shines a spotlight on an often overlooked area of ​​research. The gift means that we can strengthen our group with a doctoral position - an important step forward for the group's development as well as for research and clinical development, says Jenny Klintman, one of four physicians who are behind the research effort.

Early palliative care has many advantages

Research has shown improved quality of life, better symptom control, reduced hospital admissions and, in some studies, even extended life for patients who receive early palliative care. For example, good symptom relief has been shown to be able to help patients with cancer complete their tumor-targeted treatment without having to be admitted to hospital, so that they can maintain as good a quality of life and as good a general condition as possible during this time. This reduces the pressure on relatives who often have to bear a great deal of responsibility in the care, in addition to their concern, of the sick person. Early palliative care also creates opportunities for in-depth conversations about prognosis and treatment options as well as risks with the tumor-directed treatment and can contribute to avoiding meaningless treatment near the end of life. The use of emergency and intensive care as well as hospital re-admissions can also be reduced.

An improved Swedish healthcare system

Several international cancer organizations today recommend a care model based on early palliative care, and more and more voices are being raised to make such care available to Swedish patients to a greater extent than is happening today. The investment in the research group is still in its infancy, but the group has already taken several initiatives which, in the long run, can contribute to such care becoming a reality. - Mikael Segerlantz and Eva Brun have shown in an already completed clinical trial - ALLAN - carried out in Lund that early integrated palliative home care increases quality of life and reduces the need for hospital care. We have also started a collaborative study with the Surgery Clinic at SUH, as well as several registry-based projects where we examine the Scanian population based on questions about palliative care needs and how these can be met. Such mapping will help us identify potential improvements compared to today's routines and also knowledge gaps for further research

Original article in Swedish


Lund University Foundation

The current donation has been administered by Lund University Foundation (LUF) together with the university's department for external relations, Development Office. LUF is a non-profit foundation founded by friends of the university in the USA. Its purpose is to strengthen the university's ties to the USA and American alumni and to facilitate donations to Lund University from the USA.


The Supportive and Early Palliative Care Lab

The research group includes Jenny Klintman, Juliet Jacobsen, Mikael Segerlantz and Eva Brun. Eva Brun is an oncologist at Skåne University Hospital (SUH) and has a long-standing interest in palliative medicine. Jacobsen, Segerlantz and Klintman all work as physicians in palliative care in Boston (Jacobsen) and Region Skåne. Unique to the research group is that the members collectively have broad clinical and research experience in oncology, hematology, emergency care, internal medicine, geriatrics and palliative care. Juliet Jacobsen's clinical residency is at Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School), Boston, where she has helped build hospital-based palliative care into a world-leading palliative care center today. The initiative to form the research group comes from a common interest in developing patient-oriented clinical research and development in a hospital environment, so-called hospital-based palliative care, primarily through already established collaborations with the Department of Oncology and Surgery at SUH. The main focus is patient processes and early integration of palliative care.