Palliative care and neurology – world recognition at the World Congress of Neurology

Professor David Oliver, Chair of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Reference Group on Palliative Care in Neurology.

Prof David Oliver

The recognition of the role of palliative care for patients with progressive neurological disease has been increasing over the past five years. In 2016, the EAPC and the European Academy of Neurology produced a Consensus paper on neurological palliative care (1) (see my earlier EAPC Blog post). The EAPC now has a Reference Group on Neurology, looking at developing the links with neurologists. There has also been more discussion at neurology congresses and meetings and this was recently reinforced at the 23rd World Congress of Neurology in Kyoto in September 2017. There were more than 8,500 delegates from 121 countries and two scientific sessions were held on palliative care – the first time that so much time has been allocated within the programme.

More than 60 people attended the sessions. The first session focused on the principles of palliative care, introduced by Dr Rajagopal from India; cultural issues, particularly in Japan and Asia, by Dr Ogino from Japan, and end of life decisions in neurology presented by Professor Borasio from Switzerland. The second session looked at clinical issues – palliative care in children by Professor Führer from Germany, brain tumours by Professor Grisold from Austria and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neurone disease (ALS/MND) that I presented.

David Oliver (right) with speakers who contributed to the palliative care session.

Palliative care also featured in several posters, including three from Sri Lanka and several from Japan. I presented two posters on the work of the UK National Institute for Care and Clinical Excellence Guidance on MND, particularly the role of multidisciplinary team working, and the use of augmentative communication. The communication poster was also selected as an e-poster; it was available throughout the congress and will be on the congress website in the future.

The presentations allowed a wide-ranging discussion on palliative care in neurology and stimulated debate from the audience. This was an amazing attendance from neurologists within this very large meeting in Japan. We were given the opportunity to share our experience and I am sure this will continue the ongoing discussion about palliative care.

We have heard that there will be further sessions at the next World Congress of Neurology in 2019 in Dubai and that the World Federation of Neurology is keen to continue sessions on palliative care in the future.

More about the author …

David Oliver is a board member of the European Association for Palliative Care and is an honorary professor at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK. During his long career in palliative care, he has lectured extensively and has contributed to many books relating to neurology in palliative care.


  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; 23: 30-38. doi:10.1111/ene.12889.






This entry was posted in EAPC Taskforces/special projects, Neurology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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