Intellectual Disability

Interested in learning more about this reference group? Come along to the open meeting at the 16th World Congress of the EAPC in Berlin Friday, 24 May 2019 08:00 – 08:45am Room 4 (2nd floor) 

Aims & Objectives

  1. Building collaborative links with practitioners and researchers across Europe, including IASSIDD (International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) and the PCPLD Network (Palliative Care for People with Learning Disabilities)
  2. Promoting the White Paper, including assessment of its influence on policy and practice
  3. Development of a European Research Group (sharing expertise and resources; setting up collaborative projects; establishing research priorities)



People with intellectual disabilities make up an estimated 1-3% of the population. They are increasingly living into old age, with an associated increase in the need for palliative care provision; however, many do not currently have equitable access to palliative care services. Whilst their palliative care needs may be no different from those of the general population, they often present with unique issues, challenges and circumstances that make it more difficult to meet those needs. Therefore, they need focused consideration. Meeting the growing palliative care needs of people with intellectual disabilities thus presents a major challenge across Europe.
This reference group follows on from the EAPC Taskforce on Intellectual Disabilities (2012-2015), which aimed to improve palliative and end of life care for people with intellectual disabilities by identifying examples of good and promising practice across Europe, and developing consensus guidelines and recommendations for core standards of care, research and education. We have achieved those aims and produced a White Paper (2015), which made several recommendations. These included the importance of ongoing international exchange of expertise, as well as further research. One of the aims of the Reference Group is to monitor and promote implementation of the White Paper across Europe, and to promote international research collaborations.



  1. Make links with practitioners and researchers across Europe, and with members of IASSIDD; develop membership base (ongoing)
  2. Inventarisation of the use (in policy, practice and research) of White Paper/norms, across Europe; develop plan for enhancing the reach and use of the White Paper (ongoing)
  3. Set up an international team of researchers to conduct Systematic Reviews in the field of end of life/palliative care and intellectual disabilities. Aim to start work on at least two systematic reviews by January 2019



  • Tuffrey-Wijne I, McLaughlin D (2015) Consensus norms for palliative care of people with intellectual disabilities in Europe: EAPC White Paper. European Association of Palliative Care. view here
  • Tuffrey-Wijne I, McLaughlin D, Curfs L, Dusart A, Hoenger C, McEnhill L, Read S, Ryan K, Satgé D, Straβer B, Westergård B, Oliver D (2015). Defining consensus norms for palliative care of people with intellectual disabilities in Europe, using Delphi methods: A White Paper from the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC). Palliative Medicine 30 (5), 446-455. doi:10.1177/0269216315600993 view here
  • Tuffrey-Wijne I, Curfs L (2016) 38: The challenges of delivering integrated palliative care to people with intellectual disabilities in Europe. Part of: Abstracts for the integrated palliative care symposium, Brussels, September 30 2016. Palliative Medicine 30 (9), S18-19
  • Tuffrey-Wijne I (2016) Palliative care for people with intellectual disabilities: the EAPC White Paper in a nutshell. European Journal of Palliative Care 23(1), 45-47. view here


    *Published articles are held under copyright by the journal and may be downloaded for single academic use only. Reproduction for any other purpose is not allowed.



Prof Irene Tuffrey-Wijne 

Nurse / Associate Professor of Intellectual Disability and Palliative Care

Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston University & St George's, University of London

To contact please click here

Prof Rachel Forrester-Jones

Professor of Social Inclusion

Tizard Centre, University of Kent

To contact please click here



David Oliver (UK)
Sue Read (UK)
Marieke Groot (Netherlands)
Leopold Curfs (Netherlands)
Britt-Evy Westergård (Norway)