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Informal BIO

Maria Flink
Maria Flink
Country: Sweden

I was born and raised in the southeast coast of Sweden. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Lund University in 2003. Thereafter I worked three years as a medical social worker at the Rheumatology Department at the University Hospital in Malmö. During this time I also earned my Master’s degree in Social Work at Lund University, with a thesis on how women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis during their pregnancy coped with their new life situation. In 2005 I worked part time at the Arbetslivsinstitutet, a research institute for issues in working life. There I wrote a report on how the county council of Skåne could improve their ability as employers for young people. In 2007 I moved to Stockholm to work at the Department of Social Work at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Since January 2009 I am a member of the Handover project as a research student.

PhD description

Chronically ill patients usually belong to several clinical micro-systems. Although they receive most of their treatment in primary care, when facing an acute condition the responsibility for their care might be handed over to the hospital. Physicians and nurses at the hospital need to communicate about the patient’s previous care. Likewise, at the patient’s discharge, primary care needs information for adequate follow-up, and to ensure safe and continuous care. Lacking communication between these clinical micro-systems may lead to near misses and adverse events. Patient’s participation in the communication and care is a subject of increasing interest. Patient’s participation is about being involved in your own care, decision-making and the communication with and between care givers. Little previous research has so far been performed concerning the patient’s participation in handovers. Patient participation has, however, been suggested as one factor that might improve handovers. Therefore, we need to know the patients’ and the caregivers’ experiences and preferences for patient participation in handovers between primary and emergency care.

The general objective for this thesis is to gain knowledge about current communication between the patients’ clinical micro-systems at hospital admission / discharge, focusing on patients’ participation in such handovers.


List of Handover papers:

  • Patient participation in handovers between primary care and emergency care in Sweden– a qualitative study of the patient’s preferences and experiences
  • Patient participation in handovers between primary care and emergency care in Sweden– the  providers’ perspectives
  • Aspects of patient participation in European handovers – a comparative study of handovers between primary care and emergency care in Europe.
  • Handovers between primary care and hospitals in Sweden – the amount of communication failures in proportion to admissions and discharges


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