The Challenges of Multimorbidity from the Patient Perspective

VERDICT/South Texas Veterans Healthcare System, 7400 Merton Minter Blvd, San Antonio, TX, USA.
Journal of General Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.42). 01/2008; 22 Suppl 3(S3):419-24. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-007-0308-z
Source: PubMed


Although multiple co-occurring chronic illnesses within the same individual are increasingly common, few studies have examined the challenges of multimorbidity from the patient perspective.
The aim of this study is to examine the self-management learning needs and willingness to see non-physician providers of patients with multimorbidity compared to patients with single chronic illnesses.
This research is designed as a cross-sectional survey.
Based upon ICD-9 codes, patients from a single VHA healthcare system were stratified into multimorbidity clusters or groups with a single chronic illness from the corresponding cluster. Nonproportional sampling was used to randomly select 720 patients.
Demographic characteristics, functional status, number of contacts with healthcare providers, components of primary care, self-management learning needs, and willingness to see nonphysician providers.
Four hundred twenty-two patients returned surveys. A higher percentage of multimorbidity patients compared to single morbidity patients were "definitely" willing to learn all 22 self-management skills, of these only 2 were not significant. Compared to patients with single morbidity, a significantly higher percentage of patients with multimorbidity also reported that they were "definitely" willing to see 6 of 11 non-physician healthcare providers.
Self-management learning needs of multimorbidity patients are extensive, and their preferences are consistent with team-based primary care. Alternative methods of providing support and chronic illness care may be needed to meet the needs of these complex patients.

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