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Introduction EACH Charter & Annotations

EACH – European Association for Children in Hospital – is an international umbrella organisation open to European non-governmental, non-profit associations involved in the welfare of children in hospital and other healthcare services. In 1988 EACH members created a Charter stipulating in 10 points the rights of sick children and their families before, during and after a stay in hospital and in other healthcare services. Since its adoption in 1988 the EACH Charter has been used by EACH members as guidance for protecting the rights and well-being of sick children and eventually has served as a basis for healthcare legislation and professional guidelines in many European countries.

The rights mentioned in the Charter apply to all sick children, regardless of their illness, age or disability, their origin or their social or cultural background, or of any possible reason for treatment or forms or places of treatment, whether as in-patients or out-patients.

In view of the different stages of development of national healthcare systems in Europe, the EACH Committee decided in 2001 to explain the meaning and implications of the Charter in more detail in the form of Annotations. Since 2001 many national healthcare systems have been repeatedly re-worked; more sick children are being cared for at home instead of in hospital. In addition, the living conditions of many families have changed, economic pressures and uncertainties have increased, and some progress that had already been achieved with the implementation of the Charter has been reversed. The basic needs of sick children are, however, still the same.

In light of the present social situation and recent developments in healthcare, the EACH Committee decided to update the Annotations to the Charter to indicate the changes that are still required to be made in order to realize family oriented healthcare for children and young people in all healthcare settings. EACH members expect that the Charter and its revised Annotations will contribute to the well-being of children in healthcare systems across Europe.