This research programme has three focus areas:
  1. Inter-human communication
  2. Communication by healthcare technology and the interaction between patient and relatives
  3. Communication between parties in the healthcare system

The purpose of the programme is to develop knowledge of different communication tools t suited for solving the most important problems for patients and relatives. Moreover, to apply the proper tools meeting the most important needs in a given disease focusing on what makes sense and what is useful for the patient and the relatives.

Programme description

Accelerated patient pathways, early discharge, high expectations from patients and conversion of inpatient services to outpatient services will lead to an increased demand for communication and relationship-based competences in health care staff.
Good and involving communication and a sensitive attention to the behavioural patterns and individual needs of the patient and relatives are prerequisites for meeting the patient's most important individual needs as well as prioritising the patient's most important problem in relation to the disease in question -
The increased focus on social inequality in curing effects and in factors influencing disease pathways require differentiated communication targeted at different groups. Differentiated communication is one of the ways to give patients and relatives the possibility to process health information and create coherence in their own course of disease.

Clinical research projects giving a higher priority to interpersonal relations are important. Their purpose is to meet the patients’ demands for a person-centred and individual approach in accordance with the best available standardised documentation.

The frame of reference of the research programme stresses the importance of communication being characterised by care and empathy creating trust in the healthcare system and in healthcare professionals as well as an increased security and safety of patients and relatives. It is a care ethic framework.
Care ethics plays a fundamental role in the process and result of communication and interaction. People constantly enter into mutual communication situations and relations where the outcome and the purpose of the interaction depend on the power in the relation and how trust is to be maintained. The space for acting and opportunities for expression are expanded in order to cope with the disease.
The concept “relationship-based” refers to the patients’ relatives and their network being important during the disease process. It also involves the interaction between the healthcare professional and the patient and his or her relatives or network.

The Research Programme and the three focus areas will study::

  • Development and testing of interventions e.g. person-centred communication models, clinical micro-systems, patient encounters, network-focused caring, structured communication therapies and clinicalplans
  • The influence of senses on patients’ recovery e.g. intensive care delirium, posttraumatic stress syndrome, dying including the importance of the aesthetics of the physical framework
  • The importance of the senses in relation to the health professionals e.g. training of observational skills, the safe, secure and dignified professional hand (hands-on), the difference between hearing and listening
  • Design and testing of new health technology tools and assessment of the communication form, interaction and ethics between technology, the suffering person, the social network and the healthcare professionals.
  • Communication, continuity and collaboration between the hospital and collaborative partners, for example between different healthcare sectors, hospitals, centres, departments, medical specialities
  • Communication and collaboration with the primary healthcare sector and the healthcare professionals focusing on coherence.


Charlotte Delmar
Professor in Clinical Nursing Science
Email: cd@sygeplejevid.au.dk