Palliative care and neurology: Big steps forward

Professor David Oliver, University of Kent, UK, and EAPC board member, describes two major developments to enhance awareness of palliative care for neurological patients.

Prof. David Oliver

Prof. David Oliver

The publication of the consensus document on palliative care earlier this year 1 has led to two important developments, one of which is closer collaboration between the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) and the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC).

In May 2016, a Spring School for Neurologists in Training across Europe, and more widely, was organised by the European Academy of Neurology (EAN). During the three-day seminar held at Staré Splavy, in the Czech Republic, a specific day on palliative care was held, with Professor Stefan Lorenzl, from Austria, and myself (from the UK) leading sessions on palliative care for neurology patients and communication in palliative and end of life care. More than 100 delegates attended, primarily from Eastern Europe and even North Africa. Delegates attended a morning lecture and an afternoon seminar, where cases were discussed in an interactive way. This was a very positive approach by the EAN and was well evaluated by both the delegates and the EAN.

At the end of May, the 2nd Congress of the EAN was held in Copenhagen. A case-based facilitated workshop on the palliative care of a person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as motor neurone disease) involved speakers from across Europe. The inclusion of this session shows the EAN’s ongoing commitment to palliative care, with Professor Marianne de Visser, a neurologist from Amsterdam, and I, co-chairing the Scientific Panel on Palliative Care. The panel is looking at ongoing education for neurologists and palliative care professionals, as well as considering future educational and research collaborations.

Prof. Günther Deuschl, President of the EAN (right) and Prof. Philip Larkin, President of the EAPC, sign the Memorandum of Understanding between their respective associations.

Prof. Günther Deuschl, President of the EAN (right) and Prof. Philip Larkin, President of the EAPC, sign the Memorandum of Understanding between their respective associations.

EAN and EAPC sign Memorandum of Understanding

During the Copenhagen Congress, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the EAN and the EAPC by Professor Phil Larkin, President of the EAPC, and Professor Günther Deuschl, President of the EAN. The memorandum will encourage the collaboration between the two organisations, with opportunities for sessions at congresses, joint research and education, and ongoing working relationships. This will be continued by the formation of an EAPC Reference Group on neurology, allowing ongoing work and collaboration between the EAPC and EAN.

Speaking about the signing of the Memorandum, Professor Larkin said:

“This is an important development and shows the commitment of both groups to collaborate and move forward together, building on the EAPC Taskforce and the EAN Panel. We look forward to further collaboration and thank the EAN for this most positive move.”


  1. Oliver DJ, Borasio GD, Caraceni A, de Visser M, Grisold W, Lorenzl S, Veronese S, Voltz R. A consensus review on the development of palliative care for patients with chronic and progressive neurological disease. Eur J Neurol 2016; doi:10.1111/ene.12889.

In press: D J Oliver, GD Borasio, A Caraceni, M de Visser, W Grisold, S Lorenzl, S Veronese, R Voltz. Palliative care in progressive neurological disease: a summary of a  cosensus review. European Journal of Palliative Care vol. 23 (5) 2016.



This entry was posted in EAPC COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS, EAPC Taskforces/special projects, NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL REPORTS and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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