Lu-Ku - Palliative Care for older persons with chronic diseases: a comparative study of Sweden and China

Project: Research

Project Details


This is a collaboration project between Lund University in Sweden and Kunming Medical University in China. The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
Palliative care has traditionally been predominately provided successfully to persons dying from incurable cancer while older people dying of multiple morbidities or “old age” has received far less of this type of care. One reason might be that it is more difficult to identify when the final stages of life begins for older persons and this knowledge is missing outside specialist care units for palliative care. Today, the demographic changes in Sweden means increasing number of people who are 65 years or older, and thus also increasing the need to develop palliative care for older persons. In China, with the growing economy, the average life span has also increased and the number and proportion of geriatrics patients admitted to the hospitals are growing fast. Most diseases of old people are chronic and more difficult to cure as multiple diseases exist together. The hospital system in China includes both western medicine hospitals and traditional Chinese medicine hospitals (TCM hospitals).
In this project we implement and evaluate the effects of a knowledge-based model for palliative care in two different cultures (Sweden and China) and two different health care settings (nursing home and hospital based palliative care unit).

The first aim is to study how knowledge-based palliative care affects the quality of life and participation in the care process for the next of kin. The second aim is to explore the staff’s implementation process of palliative care and the role of the leadership. The third aim is to explore which factors (barriers and facilitators) that affect leaders’ abilities to implement this model. The fourth aim is to compare the effects of the implementation in two different cultures (Sweden and China) and two different settings (nursing homes and hospitalbased palliative care unit).

This project contributes with scientific knowledge about the outcomes of the implementation knowledge-based palliative care for elderly in two different cultures and two different health care settings. The importance of the context and culture has increasingly been emphasized in implementation research. This project explores the importance of context for palliative care defined as common values (goals, ideals, and priorities) of treatment and care activities, norms (behaviours which are expected, accepted and supported), basic assumptions and views of reality which have been developed within each culture. Ultimately, the results can provide unique knowledge that can form the basis for developing a model for how complementary medicine and methods can best be implemented cost-efficient in palliative care in Sweden and China.

Project organisation
The projectleader in Sweden is Professor, PhD, Gerd Ahlström, who has a strong track record of academic leadership. She will be responsible for the overall strategic development of the project as well as the economy of the Swedish part of the research collaboration. She has been the responsible researcher in previous cross-countries research about nurses’ ethical dilemmas and work-related stress in Sweden and China. Two other finalized project concerned health issues in Africa.

The project leader in China is Professor, PhD, Cai Le, who will be responsible for the economy and the day-to-day management of the research in China.
The Project Board consists of the two project leaders and the eight co-applicants. Besides the meetings in one of the country every half a year, video meetings will be used about 6-8 times per year. The board will decide the budget, outline strategic collaboration plan to strengthen the research activities through research applications, decides the tasks for research staff, responsible for planning the schedules of the meetings, initiation and follow-up of the research, selection of palliative care settings, ethical approval, reporting of the results and dissemination of the results. The researchers’ competence are complementary to each other.
Effective start/end date2016/01/012018/10/31

Collaborative partners

  • Lund University (lead)
  • School of Public Health, Kunming Medical University (Joint applicant)
  • Third People's Hospital of Kunming (Project partner)
  • Kunming Medical University (Project partner)


  • Swedish Research Council

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

UKÄ subject classification

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Nursing