Health promotion and inequality in health


Health promotion is embedded in both medical, humanistic and sociological health research. We know that patients' benefit from hospital treatment is influenced by their lifestyle, resources and living conditions. Moreover, their opportunities are affected by the organizational structure within the hospital. Health promotion is about the development of health strategies that enable empowerment through which people are capable of making changes in their lives. Therefore, we strive to find new ways to address the health care problems of patients by involving clinicians and patients themselves. Furthermore we investigate the possibilities of increasing patient health through changes in the structural organization of prevention- and health promotion work. 

Main focus

At the hospital, we experience that some patients need special or more comprehensive efforts to benefit from treatments. Not all patients are suited for a standardized treatment and therefore it is necessary to consider treatment in a broader perspective taking the individual's conditions, life terms and resources into account. Therefore, our research often takes place across sectors and focuses on examining health issues based on patients' everyday lives. We do this by working interdisciplinarily and with partners across sectors as well as with voluntary organizations. The emergency departments are undergoing structural changes and play a crucial role in the hospitalization of acutely admitted patients. In 2020 the emergency department at Hvidovre Hospital is expected to have the biggest coverage area in Denmark and may be a model for testing new methods and collaboration models for risk prevention and treatment of lifestyle problems as well as promoting strategies that enable the patients to create change and better health.

Ongoing studies

Action - Implementation of screening and brief intervention. This project is a health promoting mixed-methods implementation research project that examines the conditions for - and the implementation of an alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) adapted to the local context to optimize care and treatment for patients with alcohol problems. The project consists of three studies: 1) Explorative ethnographic studies consisting of field observations and interviews in two different emergency departments, 2) Tailoring of the intervention and implementation strategies and 3) the tailored version is fidelity tested to ensure successful implementation and sustainability. Project leader: Ditte Maria Sivertsen.

The role of sleep for elderly patients undergoing orthopedic surgical hospitalization and rehabilitation. The study is carried out as an ethnographic and multi-sited study with participant observations at an orthopedic surgery department. After discharge, 8 patients will be followed in their own homes over a period of 8 months. During the 8 months, 3 semi structured interviews will be conducted with each of the 8 patients. The intention is to study how sleep practices and subjective significance about sleep is produced in a hospital context and in the everyday life of the patients after discharge and what relationship this practice has with rehabilitation. Project leader: Trine Schifter Larsen.

Bridge Copenhagen: A pragmatic randomized controlled trial and an economic evaluation of a two-week medical respite care stay for homeless people after an acute admission. Patients are randomized while they are in the hospital. The intervention group receives a two-week respite care stay at a Red Cross facility. The control group is being discharged to the streets as usual care. Follow-up assessments at 3 months and 6 months include a questionnaire about health related quality of life and health care expenditures. The primary outcome is health economic costs. 96 patients are enrolled in the study. Project leader: Camilla Bring.

Action – Social Volunteers: A pragmatic randomized controlled trial and an economic evaluation of a social intervention targeted at lonely people with a drinking problem, who are not motivated to change their use of alcohol. Patients are being randomized while they are in the hospital. Through a 6 months process, the intervention group is offered visits from Red Cross volunteers at least once a week. The control group will receive usual care consisting of a brochure with information about where they can receive alcohol treatment in the municipalities. Follow-up time will be 3 months and 6 months. The primary outcome is change in the feeling of loneliness. 130 patients will be enrolled in the study. Project leader: Camilla Bring.


Homeless people's experiences of medical respite care following acute hospitalisation in Denmark. Pedersen, M., Bring, C., Brünés, N., Andersen, O., Petersen, J., Jarden, M. 2018. I: Health & Social Care in the Community. [Epub ahead of print]. DOI 10.1111/hsc.12550.