The European Association for Children in Hospital, EACH, was established on March 24, 1995. Members of EACH are national, non-profit parent organisations that generally promote the welfare of children during and after hospitalisation. EACH would like to collaborate with categorial parent organisations like the ICCCPO and sets great store by the exchange of knowledge and experience with these organisations.

An important guideline for EACH is the so called Leiden Charter of May 1988. This Charter was based upon the European Charter for Children in Hospital as adopted by the European Union on May 13, 1986.

EACH strives for the embedding of the Leiden Charter into the laws and official rules of the different European countries.

The right to the best possible medical treatment is a fundamental right, especially for children.

  1. Children shall be admitted to hospital only if the care they require cannot be equally well provided at home or on a day basis.
  2. Children in hospital shall have the right to have their parents or parent substitute with them at all times.
  3. Accomodation should be offered to all parents, and they should be helped and encouraged to stay. Parents should not need to incur additional costs or suffer loss of income. In order to share in the care of their child, parents should be kept informed about ward routine and their active participation encouraged.
  4. Children and parents shall have the right to be informed in a manner appropriate to age and understanding. Steps should be taken to mitigate physical or emotional stress.
  5. Children and parents have the right to informed participation in all decisions involving their health care. Every child shall be protected form unnecessary medical treatment and investigation.
  6. Children shall be cared for together with children who have the same developmental needs and shall not be admitted to adult wards. There should be no age restriction for visitors to children in hospital.
  7. Children shall have full opportunity for play, recreation and educa­tion suited to their age and condition and shall be in an environment designed, furnished, staffed and equipped to meet their needs.
  8. Children shall be cared for by staff whose training and skills enable them to respond to the physical, emotional en developmental needs of children and families.
  9. Continuity of care should be ensured by the team caring for the children.
  10. Children shall be treated with tact and understanding and their privacy shall be respected at all times.

At this moment members of EACH are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Great- Britain, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland.

The text of this charter is available in eleven languages.


Marianne Naafs-Wilstra

(with thanks to Thorsteinn Olafsson, Iceland, who send me the English version of the Charter)