Colombia passes palliative care law

Categories: Policy.

Dr León recounts the long journey from the initial work to draft a palliative care law in 2008, to the eventual passing of the law in 2014. 

According to Dr León: “The Palliative Care Law “regulates the right of patients with terminal, chronic, degenerative and irreversible conditions to palliative care services, to improve the quality of life of the patients and families through an integrated treatment of pain and other physical, emotional, social and spiritual symptoms, according to clinical guidelines established by the Ministry of Health.”

The Law establishes rights of the patients: access to palliative care services, accurate information regarding diagnosis and prognosis, a second opinion and having an advance directive. It also outlines the obligations of the health system and the government:

  • to offer palliative care services with equity and quality in all levels of care throughout the country;
  • to educate health professionals; and
  • to ensure availability of opioid medication 24 hours/ 7 days of the week.”

Dr León writes about the work involved in drafting the law and the persistence required in getting it passed through the House and the Senate and eventually signed into law by the President. 

She attributes the tools and resources she needed to drive this process to her fellowships with the International Leadership Program at Ohio Health, as well as the Pain and Policy Studies Group at the University of Wisconsin

Read more on the EAPC blog