Assessing need for palliative care services for children in Mexico

Marylou Cardenas-Turanzas, Horacio Tovalin-Ahumada, Carlos Guillermo Romo, Regina Okhuysen-Cawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Pediatric palliative care increasingly became integrated into health care institutions worldwide over the last decade. However, in Mexico and other developing countries with large populations of children, little is known regarding the need for palliative care services. We aimed to assess the need for palliative and end-of-life care for children dying in public hospitals affiliated with Secretaria de Salud in Mexico. Measurement: We conducted a retrospective review of deaths of children (1-17 years old) occurring during 2011 and determined deaths associated with underlying complex chronic conditions by reviewing the four causes of death listed in the death certificate. We collected sociodemographic and clinical data and utilized univariate and multivariate analyses to determine factors associated with complex chronic conditions. Results: A total of 2715 pediatric deaths were studied. We found 41% were associated with a complex chronic condition. The most frequent types of conditions were malignancies (47%), neuromuscular (18%), cardiovascular (12%), and renal (10%). Children with renal and malignant conditions died at an older age than children with other types of complex chronic conditions. Multivariate analysis indicated the independent predictors of death with complex chronic condition were no indigenous ethnicity, lack of admission to the intensive care unit during the final hospital stay, and having affiliation with an institution for health care. Conclusions: A large proportion of pediatric deaths are associated with complex chronic conditions indicating the provision of adequate funding for professional education and palliative care initiatives for children in Mexico, should be a topic of the national health care agenda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-166
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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