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Acta Médica Costarricense

On-line version ISSN 0001-6002Print version ISSN 0001-6012


PICADO-OVARES, José Ernesto  and  SOLORZANO-MORERA, Flavia. Palliative care needs in Costa Rica by Province. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2021, vol.63, n.2, pp.113-121. ISSN 0001-6002.

Background and aim.

There is a lack of knowledge regarding palliative care needs in Costa Rica, which creates difficulties in being able to distribute resources properly. This study seeks to identify palliative care needs by province to serve as input for adequate planning and utilization of resources.


The methodology designed by the Lancet Commission on Palliative Care and Pain Relief based on severe health-related suffering was used for 20 diseases with the greatest probable need for palliative care using the database of the Costa Rican Institute of Statistics and Census and databases of the Ministry of Health and the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social.


In Costa Rica, 19502 people required palliative care in 2018, with neoplastic diseases occupying the first place, followed by cerebrovascular diseases, external causes, and HIV-AIDS. Most of the cases are in the central provinces of the country (San José, Alajuela, and Heredia) and the minority in Guanacaste.


It was possible to estimate the palliative care needs in Costa Rica by diagnoses and province of residence, documenting that the majority of needs are for non- oncological terminal diseases and in the provinces of San José, Alajuela and Heredia.

Keywords : Needs; Care; Palliative Care.

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