The 12th Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care will be held in Lisbon, situated at the western border of Europe and placed ideally to connect Europe to other continents. In historic times Portuguese traders have exchanged goods throughout all the known world, and we hope to exchange ideas with all palliative and hospice professionals in the world. This is shown in the congress motto “Reaching out”. Apart from contributions from renowned specialists from all over the world as in previous congresses, we hope to involve participants from around the Mediteranean as well as from across the Atlantic, in addition to participants from Eastern, Central and Western Europe.
Palliative Care has been focussed on cancer patients mostly, and we will use the congress also to reach out to other patient groups as well as to the specialists caring for these patients. Changing demoscopics with an aging society are a major challenge to Europe and an increase in elderly or in demented patients is challenging the health care system in all European countries. Not all old or demented patients require palliative care, but a considerable number suffer from physical, psychosocial or spiritual problems that are complex and require specialist palliative care.