Oslo University Hospital (OUS) became accredited as a Comprehensive Cancer Centre by the Organization of European Cancer Institutes in June 2017. The Department of Oncology at OUS has regional responsibility for cancer and palliative care in the Southern and Eastern Norwegian health region with a population of 2 950 000, and also has national responsibilities. The department is by far the largest department for medical/radiation oncology and palliative care in Norway.
There are more than 900 full-time equivalents (FTEs) working at the department at two main locations in Oslo, with 18 department sections and 3 staff units. The department treats approximately 18 000 patients in outpatient consultations yearly and the total number of hospital beds are 123. Section for Palliative Medicine is an integrated part of the Department of oncology and has 35.5 FTEs in clinical work (physicians 9.5 FTEs; nurses 26 FTEs) and 8.9 FTEs in research, education and advisory functions. The section has 14 hospital beds, about 2 000 outpatient consultations and 500 ambulatory palliative care team consultations per year.
The section for Palliative Medicine is hosting the European Palliative Care Research Centre (PRC) with collaborating centers across Europe, Canada and Australia. The main research areas are within pain, cachexia, psychological distress and public health. Intervention studies with randomized designs are prioritized. Some of the main research projects are: The Pallion study - early integration of palliative care into oncology, the Brain metastases project and cohort studies on pain, cachexia and psychological distress.
The department has 8 professors in oncology, 3 of which are responsible for teaching palliative medicine to medical students at different stages of the medical curriculum at the University of Oslo.
Palliative and supportive care
Currently the department is developing and implementing standardized care pathways (SPCs) for specific cancer diagnosis and palliative care services. All SPCs aim at integrating oncology and palliative care services in the disease trajectory, clearly stating the roles of the two services at any given point in time. The department also offers early integration of palliative care services through an on-going trial and quality improvement program ("Palliative Care Integrated in Oncology" -PALLiON), where patients are offered referral to palliative care services in parallel with expected last-line of systemic anti-tumor intervention.