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EAPC Task Force in Primary Palliative Care


This task force was active between January 2012 and February 2015.

Toolkit of resources to develop palliative care in the community

A toolkit of resources, suitable for any individual or organisation desiring to strengthen the provision of palliative care in the community, has been the culmination of the work of this task force.

The toolkit is a collection of documents and guidance based on the four domains of the WHO public health strategy for palliative care: policy, education, implementation and drug availability. It is full of useful links to key documents in these 4 domains. The resource highlights how palliative care in the community needs to develop alongside specialist palliative care provision to provide adequate coverage of palliative care provision across all diseases.

It is clear from the country-specific profiles that there is great variability in provision of palliative care in the community across Europe. Progress in each of the four domains is, however, desirable, whether provision is currently minimal or well integrated, in a nation’s healthcare system.

Click here to access the full Report of this task force and the toolkit in the following languages: English, French and German


A multi-disciplinary EAPC Task Force was established in  2012 to scope the extent of and learn what facilitates and hinders the development of palliative care in the community across Europe.


To document the barriers and facilitators for palliative care in the community; and to produce a resource toolkit that enthusiasts could use to facilitate the development of palliative care in different countries throughout Europe and possibly worldwide.


Step 1) A survey instrument was sent to general practitioners with knowledge of palliative care services in the community in a purposefully diverse sample of European countries in 2012.  Barriers and facilitating factors relating to providing community palliative care were identified and analysed. 

Step 2) A draft toolkit was then constructed suggesting how individual countries might best address these issues and an online survey was then set up for general practitioners and specialists to comment on and develop the toolkit. Iterations of the toolkit were then presented at international palliative care and primary care conferences.

An international systematic review of tools used to identify people for palliative care in the   community was also conducted.


A toolkit has been produced and refined, together with associated guidance, to help primary care and specialist palliative care leaders throughout Europe advocate for and develop palliative care in the community, “primary palliative care”.


The four domains of the WHO Public Health Strategy provided a robust framework to collate the resources and structure the toolkit.  The task force toolkit usefully supplements previous work to help community based palliative care services to be established to ensure adequate population coverage. 

Keywords: Palliative care, primary palliative care, primary care, community palliative care

What is already known

  • Most patients die before accessing either specialist or generalist palliative care
  • For palliative care to be accessible to all in need it must be available in the community

What this  adds

  • Palliative care in the community is under-developed in many European countries
  • A toolkit is now available to facilitate the development of palliative care in the community in different countries throughout Europe and the world

Implications for practice theory or policy

  • National strategies should be drawn up to develop policies, education, implementation strategies, and drug availability in the community
  • The toolkit outlines the steps that can be taken depending on the current stage of development in each country or region


Prof. Scott A Murray, UK;  
Dr. Jurgen Abela, Malta
Dr. Alan Barnard, South Africa
Dr. Trine Brogaard, Denmark
Prof. Julia Downing, Republic of Serbia
Prof. Steffen Eychmuller, Switzerland 
Dr. Adam Firth, UK
Dr. Frederic Fogen, Luxemburg
Prof. Xavier Gomez-Batiste, Spain
Dr. Marie Lynch, Ireland
Prof. Geoff Mitchell, Australia
Dr. Sebastiene Moine, France
Dr. Erik van Rijswijk, The Netherlands
Dr. Libby Sallnow, UK
Prof. Nils Schneider, Germany
Prof. Bart Van den Eynden, Belgium
Dr. Tiago Villanueva, Portugal




Scott Murray
Primary Palliative Care Research Group
The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

to contact by email please click here

Eric van Rijswijk
General practitioner
Den Dungen, The Netherlands

to contact by email please click here

Steering group

Julia Downing

Adam Firth

Xavier Gomez

Geoff Mitchell

Libby Sallnow

Nils Schneider

Bart van den Eynden

Other members

Jurgen Abela

Trine Brogaard

Steffen Eychmüller

Tiago Villanueva

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