Calling on members of EAPC National Organisations to take part in a survey on the EAPC Volunteer Charter 

The EAPC Voice of Volunteering Charter on Volunteering in Hospice and Palliative Care was launched in Madrid in 2017. The charter advocates for the support, recognition, promotion and development of volunteering in hospice and palliative care. Its aim is threefold: 1) promote the successful development of volunteering for the benefit of patients, families and the wider hospice and palliative care community, 2) recognise volunteering as a third resource alongside professional care and family care, with its own identity, position and value, 3) promote research and best practice models in the recruitment, management, support, integration, training and resourcing of volunteers.  Since the launch the Charter has been widely promoted internationally.  It is important, however, to assess the awareness and use of the charter to date by hospice and palliative care organisations in Europe, to explore any positive changes to policy, practice and its use as a tool to advocate for change.  In order for the Task Force to ensure continued advocacy and support of volunteering and to improve the charter in the future, feedback on the reach and impact of the EAPC Madrid Charter and its usefulness as an advocacy tool are crucial.

Your answers will contribute to future improvements to the Charter as an advocacy tool for the support of Hospice and Palliative Care volunteering. You can access the survey by clicking here.

For further information about the survey, please contact Ros Scott: r.z.scott@dundee.ac.uk or Steven Vanderstichelen: Steven.Vanderstichelen@vub.be 

International Symposium

An international symposium on volunteering in hospice and palliative care was held on May 25th 2019 at the EAPC World Congress, ESTREL Congress Centre, Berlin.  This was a lively and interesting day exploring current and future opportunities and challenges in HPC volunteering and a chance for discussion and sharing experiences. More information on the symposium is available here



Research suggests that volunteering plays a key role within hospice and palliative care services in Europe (Radbruch et.al., 2010, Burbeck et. al., 2014, Wothia et. al.,2015, Scott, 2015). Some services would be unable to function without this support (Scott, 2015).  Volunteers should be recognised as having their own unique place within the team alongside professionals and informal family carers (Goossensen, Somsen, Scott and Pelttari, 2016) Volunteers add to the quality of care and patient experience (Naylor, Mundle and Weaks, 2013, Faulkener and Davies, 2005), demedicalise the environment and provide an important social dimension to care (Guirgius-Younger, Kelley, and McKee, 2005). For volunteering to be successful, however, there must be effective approaches to management (Morris et. al., 2013).

The Second Task Force on Volunteering will build on the  work undertaken by the first Task Force. The first EAPC Task Force on Volunteering which began in 2013 undertook a number of projects including: a European wide survey on volunteering, White Paper on Volunteering, several international Volunteering Symposia and Story Project."  To read the Executive summary of the First Task Force please click here and for the Full Report click here.

To read the background paper to the development of the Charter please click here, to read and sign the Charter please click here and for versions of the Charter in other languages please see the translations section of the EAPC Website.

Aims and Objectives  (Including Milestones)

During the life of the First Volunteering Task Force, information gathered through workshops at international volunteering symposia and open task force meetings suggested that effective recruitment and the training and education of volunteers and volunteer managers were essential to the the effectiveness of volunteers.  Whilst much research has focussed on the motivations of volunteers internationally, there is little research to date on the training of volunteers and therefore a lack of research evidence to support practice. We know from the work of the First Task Force that organisations and countries who are keen to develop volunteer services seek evidence-informed guidance and resources.

The aim of the Task Force is to:

Implement and monitor the aims of the EAPC Madrid Charter on Volunteering using the Charter Implementation Plan by:  

Encouraging and supporting research and practice projects across Europe to identify core elements of:

  • Effective recruitment – finding the right people for volunteer roles by December 2019
  • Education: competencies and training required for volunteers and volunteer managers by December 2018
  • The need for a quality framework for hospice and palliative care volunteering by 2020


Burbeck, R, et al. (2014) Volunteers In Specialist Palliative Care: A Survey Of Adult Services In The United Kingdom. Journal of Palliative Medicine 17 (5), pp 568-574.  doi: 10.1089/jpm.2013.0157

Goossenssen A, Somsen J, Scott R, Pelttari L (2016) Defining volunteering in hospice and palliative care in Europe: an EAPC White Paper. European Journal of Palliative Care. 23 (4): 184-191

Naylor C, Mundle C, Weaks L, Buck D (2013) Volunteering In Health And Care: Securing A Sustainable Future The Kings Fund. London 

Faulkener, M., and Davies, S. (2005) Social Support in the healthcare setting: he role of volunteers. Health and Social Care in the Community 13 (1): 38-45.

Guirguis-Younger M, Kelley M, McKee M (2005) Professionalization of hospice volunteer practices: what are the implications? Palliative and Supportive Care. 3 (2):143-144

Morris S, Wilmot A, Hill M, Ockenden N, Payne S (2013) A narrative literature review of the contribution of volunteers in end-of-life care services. Palliat Med. 27 (5): 428-36  Available from: Doi:10.1177/0269216312453608.

Radbruch, L, et al. (2010) White Paper On Standards And Norms For Hospice And Palliative Care In Europe Part 2: Recommendations From The European Association For Palliative Care. European Journal of Palliative Care. 17 (1): pp 22-33.

Scott R (2015) "We cannot do it without you"- the impact of volunteers in UK hospices. European Journal of Palliative Care. 22(2): 80-83

Woitha K, Hasselaar J, van Beek K, Radbruch L, Jaspers B, Vissers K (2015) Volunteers in palliative care – a comparison of seven European countries: A descriptive study. Pain Pract 15: 572–5


Publications and Blogs  

Goossenssen A, Somsen J, Scott R, Pelttari L (2016) Defining volunteering in hospice and palliative care in Europe: an EAPC White Paper. European Journal of Palliative Care. 23 (4): 184-191 view here

Scott, R., Pelttari, R. (2015) Comment EAPC Task Force on Volunteering: What progress has been made. European Journal for Palliative Care 22 (6) 265.

Pelttari, L., Pissarek, A., Scott, R. (2014) A new Task Force will investigate hospice volunteering in Europe. European Journal for Palliative Care 21 (3) 148,149.


EAPC Blog 18 July 2018 Bogicevic, M. The start of volunteering in hospice and palliative care in Serbia. view here

EAPC Blog 24 May 2018 Scott, R., Howlett, S. The changing face of volunteering in hospice and palliative care – new book launches at 10th EAPC World Research Congress. view here

EAPC Blog May 17 2017 Scott, R., Pelttari, L. EAPC Task Force: Launch of ‘Voice of Volunteering’: The EAPC Madrid Charter on Hospice and Palliative Care in Europe. view here

EAPC Blog 3 August 2016 EAPC White Paper: Goossensen, A., Somsen, J., Scott, R., Pelttari, L. Understanding volunteering in hospice and palliative care. view here

EAPC Blog April 25 2016 Scott, R., Pelttari, L. In their own words – The colourful lives of hospice and palliative care volunteers in Europe. view here

EAPC Blog 23 March 2015 Scott, R., Pelttari, R Colourful lives of hospice volunteers in Europe 2. view here

EAPC Blog 4 June 2014 Pelttari, L., Pissarek, A., Scott, R. (2014) Colourful lives of hospice volunteers in Europe. view here

EAPC Blog 7 January 2015 Pabst, K., Radbruch, L. EAPC Survey: The role and motivation of volunteers in hospice and palliative care in Europe. view here


Hospice Austria


Leena Pelttari

CEO Hospice Austria

Click here to contact by email

Ros Scott

Researcher and Independent Consultant,
Scotland UK

Click here to contact by email

Steering Group

Professor Anne Goossensen - Netherlands

Professor Sheila Payne -  UK

Professor Lukas Radbruch - Germany

Catherine Renard – France

Steven Vanderstichelen - Gent University, Belgium

Mijodrag Bogicevic - BELhospice in Serbia 

Ex Officio Board Link: Professor Catherine Walshe


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