Countrywide Situational Analysis of Palliative Care in Bolivia

Jonathon Judkins*, Jonathan Alhalel, Joshua Hauser, Tania Pastrana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There are substantial disparities in distribution of palliative care (PC) services within Latin America, with Bolivia historically lagging behind neighboring countries in PC metrics. Comprehensive data on PC in Bolivia were last collected in 2012 through the Latin American Association for Palliative Care (ALCP) Atlas of PC. Objective: To update the 2012 data and describe the current state of PC in Bolivia to aid in their ongoing efforts to expand PC services. In addition, to develop an instrument for assessment of national PC capacity that can be adapted for use in other countries. Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted using personal and online structured interviews of PC team directors from all 19 PC teams around the country. Measurements: A new survey was developed for this study based on the ALCP Atlas of PC and international PC guidelines. Results: PC teams in Bolivia have slowly increased in number since 2008. There are currently 19 PC teams in Bolivia, highly concentrated in urban centers. Multidisciplinary teams typically include physicians, nurses, psychologists, and social workers. The majority of teams offer treatments for all 16 essential PC symptoms included in our study. Teams report significant barriers for their patients to obtain opioid pain medications. Conclusions: Bolivian PC teams utilize multidisciplinary teams and have the capability to treat many of the essential PC symptoms with guideline-recommended treatments. However, it is unclear whether availability of services translates to accessibility for most patients, especially given their geographic distribution and cost of services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-679
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Bolivia
  • Latin America
  • end of life
  • low- and middle-income countries
  • palliative care
  • symptom management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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