OPEN Research Support

Senior researcher
Vibeke Graven
REHPA, Danish Knowledge Centre for Palliative Care

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Open
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.03.2021  
Slut 28.02.2022  

Marginalised Lives in the Shadow of Death - end of life for elderly marginalised Greenlandic people in Denmark

Short summary

Greenlandic people are Danish citizens and have the same rights as other Danish citizens; however, there is an over-representation of Greenlandic people among the socially marginalized people in Denmark. They have a higher risk of dying in poverty, social isolation and pain than others. The aim of this project is to gain knowledge about socially marginalized Greenlandic peoples' end of life hopes, wishes and needs that can inform palliative care.


Despite several initiatives aimed at improving social and health related conditions for Greenlandic people, the problem of vulnerability seems to be increasing. With a relatively short life expectancy and limited access to the healthcare system, illness and death are an inevitable part of everyday life for socially marginalized Greenlandic people in Denmark. To understand and meet their needs associated with life-threatening illness and impending death, we need to understand the way in which the group more generally perceives health, illness and a good life. We know that socially vulnerable Greenlandic people are a hard to reach the group, therefore the research will take place where they live their everyday lives: "on the bench", in their own homes, in drop-in centers, social housing, alternative care homes and possibly at the hospital or hospice. Moreover, knowledge about palliative care needs of experienced practitioners from both the social and health professional field will be explored.

The project aims to provide recommendations on how existing approaches to need assessment and care at the end of life can be adapted to the target group's hope, wishes and needs.

Description of the cohort

Participants are elderly socially vulnerable Greenlandic people living i Aalborg + practitioners working in the field.

The included Greenlandic participants are charaterised by one or more of social factors such as poverty, homelessness, substance/alcohol use and mental illness.

Data and biological material

The data will concist of fieldnotes and transscribed interviews with 10-15 socially vulnerable people plus two focus group interviews with practitioners (social workers, nurses, medical doctors, chaplain and representatives from social organisations)

Collaborating researchers and departments

Aalborg Municipality, Centre for social interventions