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 palliatuve 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

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. https://eapcnet.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/the-start-of-volunteering-in-hospice-and-palliative-care-in-serbia/

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


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. https://eapcnet.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/launch-of-voice-of-volunteering-the-eapc-madrid-charter-on-volunteering-in-hospice-and-palliative-care/

EAPC Blog 3 August 2016 EAPC White Paper: Goossensen, A., Somsen, J., Scott, R., Pelttari, L. Understanding volunteering in hospice and palliative care https://eapcnet.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/eapc-white-paper-understanding-volunteering-in-hospice-and-palliative-care/

EAPC Blog April 25 2016 Scott, R., Pelttari, L. In their own words – The colourful lives of hospice and palliative care volunteers in Europe. https://eapcnet.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/in-their-own-words-the-colourful-life-of-hospice-and-palliative-care-volunteers-in-europe/

EAPC Blog 23 March 2015 Scott, R., Pelttari, R Colourful lives of hospice volunteers in Europe 2. https://eapcnet.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/colourful-life-of-hospice-volunteers-in-europe-2/

EAPC Blog 4 June 2014 Pelttari, L., Pissarek, A., Scott, R. (2014) Colourful lives of hospice volunteers in Europe. https://eapcnet.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/colourful-life-of-hospice-volunteers-in-europe/

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



Dates of Open Meetings:

International Symposium on Volunteering.  Berlin: 22 May (Day before EAPC 16th World Congress in Berlin. Further information to follow.


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