Swedish preparedness for silent health crises and organizational learning after the swine flu, the heatwave, and the COVID-19 pandemic

This project aims to identify organizational conditions for efficient crisis management within intensive care units and special accommodations. It will also give recommendations on how the regions can strengthen their preparedness for silent health crises.

This project explores the regions' efforts to continuously improve their crisis management capabilities, especially concerning crises affecting healthcare, as well as the regions' opportunities to prepare for and learn from so-called silent crises.

The project is a case study of three silent crises: the swine flu in 2009, the heatwave in 2018, and the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2022. Through document analysis and interviews, we examine the specific measures taken by the regions in connection with these crises, the measures not taken, and the reasons behind them. This allows us to identify the actual conditions for effective crisis management within regions and healthcare units. To capture experiences and conditions for different types of operations and patient groups, we focus particularly on intensive care units and special accommodations (SÄBO).

The overall aim is to analyze and identify organizational conditions for reliable and effective crisis management in primary care and so-called tertiary care, as well as to contribute knowledge and recommendations on how the regions can strengthen their preparedness for silent health crises and improve their organizational learning after silent crises. The project builds on previous extensive research on the function and conditions of healthcare to effectively carry out its mission. Furthermore, the project is developed in consultation with stakeholders and is based on an already established collaboration with key individuals within the four regions focused on in the project: Uppsala, Stockholm, Västra Götaland, and Skåne.

An expert group is associated with the project, whose members represent both the four regions, and researchers in crisis management and public governance. The design is based on four sub-studies, with the first consisting of document analysis, the second being an interview study with relevant officials within the regions, and the third being an interview study with healthcare personnel in ICU and SÄBO.



Principal Investigator

Rebecca Selberg Associate Professor, Sociology & Gender Studies

Project members

Erica Falkenström PhD, Education


The Swedish Research Council