Patients with multimorbidity and their experiences with the healthcare process: a scoping review

Maartje J. van der Aa, Jennifer R. van den Broeke, Karien Stronks, Thomas Plochg


Background: The number of patients with multimorbidity (two or more conditions) is increasing. Observational research has shown that having multiple health problems is associated with poorer outcomes in terms of health, quality of care, and costs. Thus, it is imperative to understand how patients with multimorbidity experience their healthcare process. Insight into patient experiences can be used to tailor healthcare provision specifically to the needs of patients with multimorbidity. Objective: To synthesize self-reported experiences with the healthcare process of patients with multimorbidity, and identify overarching themes. Design: A scoping literature review that evaluates both qualitative and quantitative studies published in PubMed, Embase, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO. No restrictions were applied to healthcare setting or year of publication. Studies were included if they reported experiences with the healthcare process of patients with multimorbidity. Patient experiences were extracted and subjected to thematic analysis (interpretative), which revealed overarching themes by mapping their interrelatedness. Results: Overall, 22 empirical studies reported experiences of patients with multimorbidity. Thematic analysis identified 12 themes within these studies. The key overarching theme was the experience of a lack of holistic care. Patients also experienced insufficient guidance from healthcare providers. Patients also perceived system-related issues such as problems stemming from poor professional-to-professional communication. Conclusions: Patients with multimorbidity experience a range of system- and professional-related issues with healthcare delivery. This overview illustrates the diversity of aspects that should be considered in designing healthcare services for patients with multimorbidity.

Journal of Comorbidity 2017;7(1):11–21


multimorbidity, delivery of healthcare, patient experience, professional-patient relation, healthcare system, scoping review

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    ISSN 2235-042X