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Monthly Archives: May 2014

The experience of adults with multimorbidity: a qualitative study

By Cynthia Duguay

Some studies indicate that the many challenges associated with multiple chronic diseases represent more than just the sum of each individual’s diseases. People with multimorbidity perceive their state of health as a series of medical and emotional crises that inevitably lead to physical loss and limitations, and can also create difficult social relationships. The literature does not provide sufficient evidence for us to determine whether the experiences of adults with multimorbidity are similar to those of the older population, despite multimorbidity also being common in younger adults whose social and family situations differ from those of their elders.
We conducted a qualitative study to have a deeper understanding of patients’ experiences from their own perspective (1). The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the fundamental structure of adults’ experience with multimorbidity.
The results of the study showed that at the core of the multimorbidity experience are the impression of aging prematurely, difficulties with self-care management, and issues with access to the healthcare system, which contribute to the problem’s complexity. Despite these issues, participants with multimorbidity report attempting to take control of their situation and adjusting to daily living. The whole article about this study is available at the website of the Journal of Comorbidity.

(1) Cynthia Duguay, Frances Gallagher, Martin Fortin. The unique experience of adults with multimorbidity: a qualitative study. Journal of Comorbidity 2014;4(1):11–21.