BACKGROUND: Although narratives-including an ill person's life story, life situation and future perspectives-seem to lie at the core of rehabilitation and palliative care in Scandinavian countries, we lack a scope of how, when and where narrative methods are used. Such a scope could provide knowledge and inspiration on a practical as well as a policy level. The objective of this study is to explore the literature on the use of systematic, narrative methods in rehabilitative and palliative care for people with life-threatening illness in Scandinavian countries.
METHOD: We conducted a scoping review in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) where applicable. We performed a systematic search in CINAHL, Medline, PsychInfo, SOCIndex and SveMed+using the search terms 'life threatening illness', 'narratives', 'rehabilitation', 'palliative care' and 'Scandinavia', followed by a search for grey literature. We found 42 records to be eligible for this scope and extracted the data via piloted extraction tables.
RESULTS: We identified 17 narrative methods and present findings concerning four themes: (1) a record of the narrative methods used; (2) an objective and theoretical framework for the narrative methods; (3) the content and form of the narrative methods; and (4) the significance of the narrative methods used.
CONCLUSION: Narrative methods are used in systematic ways in rehabilitation and palliative care in Scandinavian countries and cover a wide variety of objectives, theoretical frames, forms and outcomes. Further development may benefit from more elaboration on definitions and the relationships between objectives, theoretical frameworks and outcomes.