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Dan Med J. 2018 Oct;65(10). pii: A5505.

Danish medical schools do not meet international recommendations for teaching palliative medicine.

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Denmark has been ranked low regarding the extent of teaching in palliative care (PC) at medical schools although the Danish Health Authority recommends that all doctors have basic knowledge of PC. The aim of this study was to investigate the contents of and time spent on teaching in PC at the four Danish medical schools and to compare results with recommendations from the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC).


Data were collected by examining university curricula, course catalogues, etc., using search words based on recommendations from the Palliative Education Assessment Tool and by a questionnaire survey among the university employees responsible for semesters or courses in Danish medical schools.


Teaching in palliative medicine at Danish medical schools is generally sparse and mainly deals with pain management and general aspects of PC. Compared to European recommendations, teaching in, e.g., ethics, spirituality, teamwork and self-reflection is lacking. Furthermore, PC training does not reach the recommended minimum of 40 hours, and examinations in PC are not held. As from the autumn of 2017, the University of Southern Denmark has offered a course that expands teaching in PC and thereby improves compliance with EAPC recommendations; the remaining three medical schools do not, to our knowledge, have any specific plans to increase the extent of teaching activities in palliative medicine.


Teaching in palliative medicine is sparse at all four medical schools in Denmark and should be strengthened to meet Danish as well as European recommendations.


No funding was used for this study.


not relevant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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