Palliative Care and the 


WHO participated in the work of a Council of Europe Expert Committee during 2001-2002 which resulted in the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on 12.11.2003 adopting a "Recommendation on the organization of palliative care". The recommendation is available at the Council of Europe website together with an explanatory memorandum.

A WHO definition of palliative care also exists and is available on the following WHO website.

In 2004, two WHO reports on palliative care were published  Palliative Care: the solid facts and Better Palliative care for older people.

Frequently asked question: What are the palliative care needs of older people and how might they be met?

European Association for Palliative Care

The European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) was established on 12 December 1988, with 42 founding members and following important initiatives by Professor Vittorio Ventafridda and the Floriani Foundation. The aim of the EAPC is to promote palliative care in Europe and to act as a focus for all of those who work, or have an interest, in the field of palliative care at the scientific, clinical and social levels.

Since 1990 the Head Office of EAPC has been based at the Division of Rehabilitation and Palliative Care within the National Cancer Institute in Milan. In 1998 the EAPC was awarded the status of NGO Non Governmental Organisation of the Council of Europe, and was transformed to Onlus (Non profit organisation with social utility).

By 2005 the EAPC counted individual members in 40 countries, with collective members from 32 National Associations in 21 European countries, representing a movement of some 50.000 health care workers and volunteers working or interested in palliative care.


  • Promote the implementation of existing knowledge; train those who at any level are involved with the care of patients and families affected by incurable and advanced disease; and promote study and research.
  • Bring together those who study and practise the disciplines involved in the care of patients and families affected by advanced disease (doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists and volunteers).
  • Promote and sponsor publications or periodicals concerning palliative care.
  • Unify national palliative care organizations and establish an international network for the exchange of information and expertise.
  • Address the ethical problems associated with the care of terminally ill patients


Our website has become a crucial communication tool to update on the latest developments and report in detail on the activities of EAPC.


European Journal of Palliative Care the EAPC Journal
The EJPC is the journal of the EAPC. It is a multidisciplinary journal, published 6 times a year in both English and French. EJPC concentrates on reviews and current awareness of palliative care on the European scene.

Palliative Medicine The Research Journal of the EAPC
Palliative Medicine is the leading peer reviewed research journal of palliative care in Europe. It is published 8 times a year and is available by subscription to the printed version, with online access to the back issues of the last 5 years.

The Board of Directors of the EAPC consider research a key issue for the future of palliative care and decided in 1996 to put together a Steering Committee for research. This group has organized eleven expert working groups on a variety of topics for which a common European position or recommendations are needed. By the end of 2003, the results of the work of seven groups had been published, one of them in 6 languages. Two further papers are in publication.

One of the priorities of the EAPC for the future is the support of development of palliative care in Eastern Europe. In 2001 the EAPC co-ordination centre was established at Stockholms Sjukhem Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, which hosts and supports the centre locally. The realisation of this project has been possible thanks to a grant from the OpeN Society Institute, New York.



The EAPC Ethics Task Force on Palliative Care and Euthanasia: This task force is nearing completion of its work. On the Web page can befound the original paper in English, as well as the translations that exist thus far: a French, an Italian and a Hungarian are available as PDF files (free download). A German and a Finnish translation are under way


EAPC task force on Palliative Care Standards A review of available standards was presented as a poster at the EAPC congress in The Hague. Plans for a workshop are in progress. Creators of existing standards will be invited as well as task force members to share experiences from creation process, through to implementation and audit. A second purpose of this taskforce is to find out the needs for some form of a European standard and to create a checklist that anyone wanting to create standards can follow.

EAPC Taskforce on Palliative Care Development in Europe This taskforce is a collaboration between three institutions, EAPC Onlus, The International Observatory on End of Life Care and Help the Hospices - with the aim to achieve an overall vision of the care activity and development of Palliative Care teams in Europe. The survey will include:
countries of the WHO European region with a Palliative Care National Association
countries of the EU
countries candidate to become members of the EU

Taskforce on Palliative Care for Children This Group was set up in September 2002. Its aims are three fold:
To identify existing organisations providing and supporting palliative care to children in Europe.
To create a directory of such organisations to facilitate working between them.
To formulate a strategy for supporting them.

The initial phase of the project has been spent in defining the scope of the work and how it should best be approached. The taskforce takes the view that the specialty of paediatric palliative medicine has much to learn from the adultspecialty and that opportunities for exchange of knowledge between adult and paediatric palliative care physicians are currently limited and there is value in providing settings that allow cross-fertilisation of ideas.


Taskforce on Nursing EducationThis taskforce of Palliative Nursing Experts has been convened to develop recommendations for the development of palliative nurse education in Europe. Ten experts in the field, from some 10 different European countries have been consulted for their comments, views and suggestions to finalise the recommendations, which will be published on the EAPC Website.

Survey on Medical Education. The EAPC Board considers that education about palliative medicine at university level is of utmost importance for the future of palliative care, and has carried out a survey on the state of the art of education for physicians in Europe.

Taskforce on Medical Education.

A working party has been convened to create European recommendations for curricula for medical education at University. The group represents a broad spectrum of medical practitioners involved in the preparation and delivery of medical education throughout Europe.


Since 1990 the EAPC has organised 8 European Congresses: in Paris. France (October 1990), Bruxelles, Belguim (October 1992), Bergen, Norway (June 1994), Barcellona, Spain (December 1995), London, United Kingdom (September 1997), Geneva, Switzerland (September 1999), Palermo, Italy (April 2001), Den Haag, the Netherlands (April 2003).

The 9th Congress will be held in Aachen, Germany, April 2005.

The site for the 10th EAPC Congress will be decided soon.

The first Research Forum of the EAPC in December 2000 was such a success that the EAPC Board of Directors decided to continue to organise such meetings every second year in between the EAPC Congresses. The second Forum was held in Lyon, France May 2002. The third one in Stresa June 2004.


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