Research in Palliative Care

In Switzerland today, around 90% of deaths occur, not suddenly, but after a period of illness and nursing care. Convinced that high-quality research leads to better clinical practice, the SAMS launched the funding programme «Research in Palliative Care 2014 – 2018». This page provides an overview of projects, results and challenges for the future.

CHF 4.4 million were made available by the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation and the Gottfried and Julia Bangerter-Rhyner Foundation, through five calls, to support 34 research projects and to award 4 fellowships for an education and research stay abroad. The last call for proposals took place in 2018, with grants running until 2022.


The final report published mid-2020 illustrates where the funds were invested, presents selected projects and outlines what is needed to establish research in palliative care in Switzerland on a sustainable basis.


Downloads and links

You will find an overview of all program grantees in the synopsis below. Details concerning the research areas supported, the evaluation procedure and the evaluation criteria can be found in the program regulations.


Synopsis of grantees


Program regulations «Forschung in Palliative Care» (in German)


Expert Committee (in German)



Symposium 2019

To conclude the program, the SAMS, in partnership with palliative ch, held a full-day symposium in Bern on Thursday, 21 November 2019. The presentations and posters reflected the diversity of the supported projects (methods, settings, etc.) as well as interdisciplinarity and interprofessionality. More than 120 participants from all over Switzerland gained insight into the results of the projects and learned which factors promote or hinder knowledge transfer from research to practice.


In order to establish palliative care research in Switzerland on the long term, what is required are stable structures which enable constant research work, with appropriate support and funding instruments as well as defined career paths. A «Manifesto for sustainable research in palliative care and end of life care in Switzerland» was presented at the symposium. It summarises in eight objectives how the necessary structures could be created.


The SAMS will continue to report occasionally on the developments in this still young discipline after the end of its funding programme.


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Manifesto, programme and presentations

Manifesto for sustainable research in palliative care and end of life care in Switzerland


Programme of the Closing Symposium, 21 November 2019


Dr. Myriam Tapernoux, Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences

The funding program «Research in Palliative Care» in numbers


Dr. Sarah Ziegler, Universität Zürich

Palliative sedation in Switzerland: Medicale routine or specialized care?


Prof. Bernice Elger, Universität Basel / Université de Genève

Respect for patient self-determination as quality indicator in palliative care


PD Dr. Mathieu Bernard, Université de Lausanne

French validation of the Integrated Palliative Care Outcome Scale (IPOS)


Prof. Steffen Eychmüller, Universitätsspital Bern

A national palliative care database: A tool to better define the needs of palliative care patients in Switzerland


Prof. Markus Zimmermann, Universität Freiburg

Keynote: Development of palliative care research in Switzerland. Insights from the NRP 67 «End of Life»


Dr. Manya Hendriks, Universität Zürich / Dr. Karin Zimmermann, Universitäts-Kinderspital Zürich

Getting started: Setting up a research project in paediatric palliative care


Prof. Ralf Jox, Université de Lausanne / Prof. Tanja Krones, Universität Zürich

Advance Care Planning: Lessons learned from research with vulnerable patients


Prof. Isabelle Noth, Universität Bern / Dr. Raphael Rauch, Universität Zürich

Where is spiritual care?


PD Dr. Manuel Trachsel, Universität Zürich

Palliative care for patients with severe persistent mental illness


Prof. Sophie Pautex, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève

Comparing the effectiveness of palliative care for elderly people in long term care facilities in Europe and in Switzerland


Prof. André Fringer, Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften

Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking (VSED) in Switzerland


Dr. Claudia Gamondi, Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale di Ticino / Université de Lausanne

Palliative ch members' attitudes towards assisted suicide: A mixed method study


Prof. Corina Caduff, Hochschule der Künste Bern

Keynote: From a humanities' perspective – The design of dying in an era of new media in literature and in palliative care





Dr. Myriam Tapernoux
Head of Department
Tel. +41 31 306 92 76