Despite extraordinary scientific breakthroughs, cancer remains the top two causes of death in Switzerland. This makes ‘communication about approaching death’ a main communication task for oncology health professionals. Our project aims at supporting oncology health professionals in performing these conversations with confidence and positive impact for all involved. Evidence shows that communication skills can be learned and that they have the potential to influence how people die, how families adjust to bereavement, and how health professionals cope with death in their work.


Based on state of the art of research, we will develop a new learning module on the DocCom.Deutsch learning platform, addressing the issue of communicating approaching death. We will deliver a state-of-the art communication guide for oncology health professionals through an eLearning blended approach, and test the efficiency of learning and employing this approach through research.

Project team

Prof. Dr. phil. Sissel Guttormsen, IML, medical faculty, University of Bern (Main applicant)
Prof. Dr. med. Steffen Eychmüller, Universitäres zentrum für Palliative Care, Inselspital Bern (Co-applicant)
Dr. Sofia Zambrano, Universitäres Zentrum für Palliative Care, Inselspital Bern (Co-applicant)
Dr. med. Kai Schnabel, MME, IML, medical faculty, University of Bern (Co-applicant)


Team IML

Sissel Guttormsen, Kai Schnabel, Felix Schmitz, Beate Brem

Project information

Running time: 2019 - 2023

eLearning «Über das Sterben sprechen» [Talking about dying] online (in DE) 
since 11/21 
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