The development of palliative care in Colombia: an analysis of geographical inequalities through the application of international indicators
Context. The national evaluation of an individual country is a tool used to improve the universal provision of palliative care. The evaluation of a country's internal situation, by means of an analysis of the development of palliative care by region, may also be an instrument for improvement.
Objectives. The aim of this study was to understand the regional development of palliative care in Colombia, through the application of international indicators.
Methods. Regional development was analyzed for Colombia, with a country-specific adaptation of the evaluation method used in the latest edition of the Palliative Care World Map (Clark D, 2020), the need for palliative care per death with serious health-related suffering (Knaul FN, 2019), and the coverage of specialized services, following European standards (Centeno, 2016). A total of 33 of the country's regions were classified.
Results. Some 41% of the people who die in Colombia need palliative care. The average figure for specialized services is 0.5/100,000 inhabitants, with a maximum coverage of 51%. In Colombia, there are 12 regions with a generalized level of provision; six regions with isolated provision, nine regions developing their capacity, four with no known activity, and two at an advanced level of palliative care integration. The regions with the highest level of palliative care development coincide with higher demand and coverage of specialized services.
Conclusion. Regional palliative care development is unequal and unbalanced. Applying international indicators to levels of regional development allows for the identification of geographical inequalities and highlights low palliative care development, especially in the rural areas of the country. (C) 2020 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.