Photo: Paolo Impagliazzo, 2023


Ritual of remembrance


Palliative Care Unit, RHG, 2023


“Ritual of remembrance”, 1 ritual
Interior design

In this pilot study, the potential of developing, training, and implementing a farewell ritual when departing with a family member was explored. The aim was to examine how such a ritual can enhance the bereavement experience for relatives and provide the staff with a diverse array of tools, that furthermore challenges the prevailing practices and foster a cultural change within the department. The pilot found that the process and ritual stimulated curiosity and innovation within the department, which can boost confidence, courage and resilience. For the relatives, the ritual created a caring atmosphere for a dignified and memorable farewell.

At Regionshospital Gødstrup, a dedicated ‘Ritual of remembrance’ was established in Palliative Care Unit, as a part parts of the ”Art in Health Biennale, a pre-project,” in November 2023. The pilot aims to investigate how the development, training, and implementation of a farewell ritual for departure processes can contribute to creating a beautiful memory. This exploration was facilitated through dramaturgical and interior architectural elements that create an aesthetic backdrop for the farewell.

The farewell ritual incorporates various dramaturgical elements and props, in conjunction with the architecture and interior design. Patient room 521 was decorated as an experiment in this, while the ritual itself was designed to be performed in all rooms within the department. Specifically, interior solutions such as a lounge chair, coffee table, curtains, and dining area were integrated. Props for the farewell ritual included flowers, cards for flower pressing, candles, a jewellery pouch, a comb, and a poetry booklet made by studio poēsís.

The ritual is a ceremony that helps us to be present together as we approach these moments. The ritual is social and conducted in a safe space where the staff offers their presence and comfort, ensuring that nothing can go wrong. The intention is for the ritual to serve as a supportive framework that relatives and staff can give meaning to together. Its structured format is a starting point to make room for poetry, song, music, symbolism, and aesthetics in our memory of a life once lived. During the ritual, there is room for uncertainty, doubt, powerlessness, and relief — everything that gives the ritual humanity and life.

The pilot project was developed by director Thure Lindhardt, actor Kai Bredholt, and architect Esben Bala Skouboe, in close collaboration with Chief Nurse Lene Høgsberg and the staff in a co-creative process. In the development of the farewell ritual, staff and artists needed to meet at the hospital to gain an understanding of key needs, sensory experiences, practices, and existential needs associated with death in the department. This included conversations with all professionals, roleplaying, and involving the hospital chaplain. The purpose was to provide a broader range of options that could address various needs of relatives based on the staff’s experiences and perceptions of the specific family.

The early effect of the ritual has included a sparked curiosity among the staff, which can stimulate a developing idea-space internally within the department. It has made them feel capable of offering a successful and special level of care, which can boost confidence, courage and resilience. For the relatives, the ritual contributes to creating a caring atmosphere that makes the farewell dignified, personal and memorable. This can serve as a positive distraction, which can thus be a starting point for rehabilitation and the grieving process.

Healthcare representative

Chief Nurse, Lene Høgsberg




Director, Thure Lindhardt
Actor, Kai Bredholt
Architect and designer, Esben Bala Skouboe


Homelike décor
Covering medical instruments


OneCollection – House of Finn Juhl


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Video: Paolo Impagliazzo, 2023

“It’s a sense of satisfaction, knowing that I’ve contributed to facilitating something positive and a good conclusion. Somehow, it allows for closure around the course of illness and the relatives, creating a space where they can be.”

Nurse, Marianne Munksgaard, Palliative Care Unit RHG

Photo: Paolo Impagliazzo, 2023

“Well, for me, personally, it triggered some emotions and thoughts about my father that I hadn’t considered in a while. It’s interesting how some memories come flooding back unexpectedly. But, it was a warm experience and a good way to say goodbye to him. Again, it wasn’t just a quiet moment where you sat and looked at him and talked over him, but you actually somehow included him in it.”

Relative, Herning

Foto: studio poēsís, 2023

“I feel that working with artists involves a significant mutual respect from both professional groups. What I particularly liked about it was that you could bring your expertise into the artistic realm. In that way, it elevates some of the professional aspects that one typically engages in.”

Chief Nurse, Lene Høgsberg, Palliative Care Unit, RHG

Photo: Esben Bala Skouboe, 2023

Photo: Paolo Impagliazzo, 2023

“The ritual is not just the day they die. Many patients spend several days dying. I feel we’ve shifted focus on whether what we’re doing is optimal. Can we add more to this? Can we optimize it to make it a good experience? I definitely think this has done that.”

Nurse, Rita Nørgaard, Palliative Care Unit RHG

Photo: Esben Bala Skouboe, 2023

Foto: studio poēsís, 2023

Behind the scenes

Photo: Paolo Impagliazzo, 2023

Photo: Esben Bala Skouboe, 2023

“In terms of transformation within the department, I believe a project like this can help bring out that creative idea space in the staff. Instead of going through the same routines every day, it’s beneficial to introduce new perspectives from time to time.”

Chief Nurse, Lene Høgsberg, Palliative Care Unit RHG

Photo: Paolo Impagliazzo, 2023

Photo: Esben Bala Skouboe, 2023

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