The Academy of Medical Sciences has produced a report on the unprecedented burden of “multi-morbidity”, i.e. the clustering of two or more physical and mental health conditions in the same patient. This is a summary of emerging evidence on the prevalence, determinants, prevention and treatment of multimorbidity. It may be time for health services and professionals to adopt approaches better suited to treating the “whole person” instead of the patient’s individual illnesses in isolation.
“Over the last year, the number of over-50s in England with two or more conditions has increased from 32% to 43%”.
Triggle, N. (2018). Being a patient ‘a full-time job’. London: BBC Health News, April 19th 2018.
This relates to:
Multimorbidity: a priority for global health research. London: The Academy of Medical Sciences, April 2018.
Challenges Arising From Multiple Health Conditions
People in the most deprived areas tend to have two or more conditions by the age of 61; this happens ten years earlier than in persons living in least deprived areas. One in four adults in England (14.2 million people) has two or more health problems. This group of patients disproportionately takes up 55% of hospital admissions and outpatient visits and 75% of primary care prescriptions.
The following Health Foundation report identifies six steps for the NHS to address the complexity of persons with multiple health conditions:
- Supporting people with multiple conditions to live well.
- Developing new models of NHS care for people with multiple conditions.
- Resourcing the role of primary care.
- Designing secondary care around people with multiple conditions.
- Using data and sharing information to improve care for people with multiple conditions.
- Robust evaluation: determining what works best in practice.
Stafford, M. Steventon, A. [and] Thorlby, R. [et al] (2018). Understanding the health care needs of people with multiple health conditions. London: Health Foundation, November 2018.
Possibly also of interest, from a more international perspective:
Kar, N. (2019). Holistic care for older adults needs attention to multimorbidity. Journal of Geriatric Care and Research. June 2019. Vol.6(1): pp.1-2.