Paving the way for the next steps – EAPC Task Force on International Collaboration for the Development of Healthcare Professional Guidelines in Palliative Care  

Anneleen Janssen, Research Coordinator at Federatie Palliatieve Zorg, Vlaanderen, Belgium (a Belgian national palliative care association), and a member of the EAPC Task Force on International Collaboration for the Development of Healthcare Professional Guidelines in Palliative Care.  

Remember Peter Pype’s earlier post on the blog when he invited you to join us at our task force’s open meeting at the 11th European Association for Palliative Care World Research Congress Online?  Well, we succeeded in getting 69 attendees – more than during previous congresses and we had a very inspiring and constructive debate with an enthusiastic audience. The purpose of this meeting was to explain the preparations to build a collaborative network concerning guideline development. We presented and discussed the results of the questionnaire from EAPC-affiliated countries about the methodology of guideline development and the results of a tryout of international collaboration of guideline development.

The way is paved for the next steps …    

Why a collaborative network? 

Palliative care is a rapidly growing scientific field with an increasing body of evidence. Guideline development is needed to support qualitative care practices, but it is complex and rather time consuming.

Our research shows that many countries in the EAPC region are developing guidelines based on the same body of international scientific evidence and using similar methodologies. It appears feasible and worthwhile to strive for a collaborative network, to diminish individual efforts and develop guidelines in a more efficient way. This network would enable drafting shared international key recommendations (phase 1), for subsequent translation to national contexts (phase 2).

Guideline development comprises two main phases:

  • Phase 1 encompasses literature search, selection, evidence table, key recommendation 
    • international collaboration appears possible
    • shared approach can divide workload and save time.
  • Phase 2 encompasses context adaptation of key recommendations, local peer review and publication 
    • international collaboration not feasible
    • national approach allows taking into account regional context in the final version of guidelines.

Are we up to the challenge? 

Our EAPC online survey confirms that many EAPC-affiliated countries are already developing guidelines in accordance with internationally accepted standards. The same methodological approach and expertise is being shared throughout the region.

Is your country/organisation ready to participate in this unique initiative?   

As a pilot for this collaborative network, two countries (Belgium – The Netherlands) currently collaborate in developing one guideline. Their experiences can serve as guidance for other countries engaging in a similar exercise. With our joint knowledge and expertise and with a collaborative effort we aim at supporting all countries and institutions willing to go for it!

If you are interested, please email Anneleen JanssenA kick-off meeting can be organised online (using Zoom), in order to get acquainted, identify opportunities and thresholds, and to prioritise targets. 


  • EAPC Task Forces and Reference Groups, formed by EAPC members from a range of disciplines and different countries, work collaboratively to produce a variety of documents on behalf of the EAPC. Find out more here..
  • If you’d like information about holding an open meeting at the 17th EAPC World Congress Online, please email our Congress Coordinator, Claudia Sütfeld.

Read more posts about the 11th EAPC World Research Congress and 17th EAPC World Congress on the EAPC blog. 

How to access 11th EAPC World Research Congress Online resources

Please join us at the 17th EAPC World  Congress Online – interactive live sessions 6 to 8 October 2021. Find out more about Submitting an Abstract  or applying for a 2021 EAPC Researcher Award.


This entry was posted in 11th EAPC World Research Congress Online, 17th EAPC World Congress, EAPC Task Forces/Reference Groups, EAPC World Research Congresses and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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