Entete 3

Conceptualising multiple conditions in Australia



By Christine Walker

Since the 1970s greater numbers of people are now living with several serious long term illnesses. These include rarer genetic conditions and ‘lifestyle conditions’ as well as those of an idiopathic nature. A recently published article [1] examines the growing need for new terms and concepts that reflect the changes in the lives of people living with long-term serious illnesses.

The Chronic Illness Alliance conducted a workshop with its members who had multiple conditions to scope the problems they faced in receiving health care. A literature review using the principles of meta-synthesis which aims to systematise qualitative concepts provided the means to identify whether the concerns raised by consumers were recognised in the literature. The risks identified by consumers were used both as search terms and analytical terms. While the consumer perspective appeared absent in the literature, many authors showed similar concern about the tardiness of health systems to acknowledge the impact of multi-morbidities for consumers and the associated risks. More importantly the literature review demonstrated that problems associated with concepts, definitions and data collection impact on health care and service delivery. This in turn dictates how consumers receive their health care services and ultimately influences the safety and quality of their health care. The article argues that the adoption of better concepts is a first step to achieving systemic change on behalf of people with multiple conditions.

[1] Walker C. Conceptualising multiple conditions in Australia: First steps to systemic change to meet the needs of people with serious long-term illnesses. Patient Experience Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2 -Fall 2015, pp. 69-76.

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