Patients, Caregivers Struggle With Advanced Multimorbidity

Interviews with patients and carers offer insights into the needs of those with advanced multimorbidity

FRIDAY, July 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A better understanding of the needs of patients with advanced multimorbidity may offer insights into how to improve care, according to research published online May 28 in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

Bruce Mason, Ph.D., of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues interviewed 37 patients with advanced multimorbidity and 17 family carers to explore their experiences and perceptions.

The researchers found that patients with advanced multimorbidity had difficulty with multiple, changing medications; multiple services better aligned for single conditions, such as cancer; and lack of coordination and continuity of care. Family carers described physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion and felt that they were undervalued by professionals. Patients and carers often perceived deteriorating health as a part of aging. Many participants had a focus on day-to-day management that hindered advance care planning. Many patients, carers, and professionals perceived "palliative care" and "dying soon" as closely related concepts and rarely discussed this topic.

"Patients with advanced multimorbidity received less care than their illness burden would appear to merit," the authors write. "Some people did restrict their interactions with care providers to preserve autonomy, but many had a limited understanding of their multiple conditions, medications, and available services, and found accessing support impersonal and challenging."

Full Text

Physician's Briefing