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Early integration of basic palliative care in cancer: scoping review of cross-sectorial models – components, facilitators, barriers
  1. Johanna Ingrid Elin Swenne1,2,
  2. Torben Frøstrup Hansen2,3,
  3. Ricko Damberg Nissen4,
  4. Karina Dahl Steffensen2,5,
  5. Mette Stie3,
  6. Jens Søndergaard4 and
  7. Lars Henrik Jensen2,3
  1. 1Department og oncology, Vejle Hospital, Vejle, Denmark
  2. 2Institute of Regional Health Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Syddanmark, Denmark
  3. 3Department of Oncology, Vejle Hospital - University Hospital of Southern Denmark, Vejle, Denmark
  4. 4Research Unit of General Practice, Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Syddanmark, Denmark
  5. 5Center for Shared Decision Making, Vejle Hospital - University Hospital of Southern Denmark, Vejle, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Johanna Ingrid Elin Swenne, Department og oncology, Vejle Hospital, Vejle, Denmark; johanna.swenne{at}


Background Shared care between oncology specialists and general practice regarding the delivery of palliative care (PC) is necessary to meet the demands for a cohesive PC. The primary objective of this study is to investigate models of cross-sectorial integration between primary care and oncology specialists that have been developed to promote early and basic PC and factors influencing the process.

Method A scoping review was conducted using publications dated up until April 2023. Searches were conducted in MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, Web of Science and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Complementary searches were performed via reference lists and grey literature. Explicit early PC models aimed at patients with cancer aged ≥18 years with healthcare professionals from primary care and oncology constituted the inclusion criteria. The screening of the papers was performed independently by two reviewers. The reporting adheres to the extension for scoping reviews of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses.

Results The search provided 5630 articles of which six met the eligibility criteria, each describing a different model of early and cross-sectorial, integrated PC. 12 active components were identified. Education of staff as well as good communication and cooperation skills are essential factors to succeed with integrated, early PC.

Conclusion Integration of PC between general practice and oncology specialists has potential. The components of basic PC have been established. Factors known to influence the process are trust, communication and a common goal. Further research is required into strategies for approaching different levels of integration.

  • Quality of life
  • Hospital care
  • Education and training
  • Clinical decisions
  • Communication
  • Clinical assessment

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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  • Contributors JIES: Conceptualisation, Design, Review, Analysis, Writing, Guarantor for the full work. TFH: Design, Revision, Supervision. RDN: Design, Revision. KDS: Review, Revision, Supervision. MS: Review, Analysis, Revision, Supervision. JS: Conceptualisation, Design, Revision. LHJ: Conceptualisation, Design, Review, Revision, Supervision.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.