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The role of close relations in cancer patients´ decision on home death: An exploratory study.

The overall aim of the project is to enable more cancer patients to die at home by unpacking and improving the understanding of the complexity and dynamics of preferences and decisions on home deaths, the time spent at home and, finally, death.

Two men smiling and reading on a sofa.
Photo: Colourbox illustrasjonsfoto

About the project

In this project we wish to explore how the question of home death is raised and handled between couples. In addition, we will consider how patients and their spouses/partners experience spending time together and prepare for the patient to die at home, and what makes home death possible, or not. Knowledge from the project might help health care services to support dying patients and their families and better facilitate home death, when this is wished for.


For many cancer patients in Norway, the preferred place of death is in their own home. However, the gap between cancer patients' preferences and actual place of death is significant.

A man leads a woman in a wheelchair.
Colourbox illustrasjonsfoto

In order for home death to be possible, the cancer patient must have access to home services and palliative care, not live alone, but have a close relative, preferably a spouse / partner. The latter aspect being highlighted as a crucial condition for home death. Care and help from the spouse / partner is of great importance for a person to be able to spend time at home and die at home. However, home death is a complex process, involving the patient, family and professionals, where the knowledge on how couples discuss, handle and plan for home death is limited.


The study has a qualitative research design with semi structured interviews. We wish to meet the couples in their own home. The interviews will have emphasis on how the question of home death was brought up, how the couple experience the present situation at home, and what they think about the time ahead. After the patient´s death, we wish to interview the bereaved person about the end-of-life period of time at home, and  the circumstances leading to the actual place of death.


Knowledge from the project might help cancer patients and their spouses/partners to plan for home death when this is wished for. In addition, it can help health care services to support dying patients and their families and better facilitate home death.


Stiftelsen Dam 


Norwegian Cancer Soceity; Nes municipality; Horten municipality; Fransiskushjelpen; Frogner district in Oslo; Palliative care unit, Akershus University Hospital.

Start – Finish            

April 2021 – December 2024


Published Dec. 6, 2021 11:17 AM - Last modified Dec. 6, 2021 11:17 AM