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Challenge of multimorbidity faced at national conference

Multimorbidity is a “complex phenomenon” representing one of the key challenges facing healthcare systems globally, according to a leading researcher.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti made the comments at the National NIHR CLAHRC Multimorbidity Research Day, which took place on January 18 in Leicester.

It is estimated that in the UK, 65 per cent of people aged 65 or older are living with two or more chronic conditions, with the prevalence of multimorbidity having increased from 31.7 per cent in 2002/03 to 43.1 per cent in 2012/13. In addition, there is a lack of evidence-based recommendations for people with multimorbidity. 

The event hosted by NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands provided an opportunity for researchers, clinicians and other colleagues from the 13 CLAHRCs to discuss current research being conducted and future challenges and opportunities in the field of multimorbidity research.

There were 61 study summaries highlighted and showcased at the conference attended by 60 delegates.

Professor Khunti, who is the Director of NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands and a Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “As researchers, we are aware that multimorbidity is a complex phenomenon requiring multi-faceted strategies and interventions to improve outcomes. This event showcased the multimorbidity work across all CLAHRCs.

“Patients with multimorbidity have complex healthcare needs and multimorbidity is a key challenge facing healthcare systems globally. In addition, there is lack of evidence-based recommendations or people with multimorbidity. This programme of work shows there is huge activity in applied health research on multimorbidity with 61 abstracts being included in this summary report. I hope some of these studies will help generate the evidence needed to manage people with multimorbidity in the future.”

The projects were selected for excellence and potential for future implementation studies. The selection included examples of CLAHRCs working individually with local partners, people with multimorbidity, as well as examples of cross-CLAHRC collaboration. They highlighted the innovative work that is already taking place and stimulated further discussion.

The event took place at the University of Leicester Stamford Court building. In the morning there were two sessions, firstly looking at prevention and then at the management of multimorbidity.

The prevention session covered presentations including:

  • MAP Movement through Active Personalised Engagement – Emma Baldry (East Midlands)
  • Supporting older people to manage their medicines: a scoping review of medicines self-management tools – Krystal Warmoth (South West Penisula)
  • Developing the Core Multimorbidity Intervention Team Programme (COMMIT) – Bronwyn Harris (West Midlands)
  • Models of Good Practise in PPI – Vinod Chudasama (East Midlands)
  • Frailty Trajectories: understanding the tipping points across care settings – Louise Lafortune (East of England)

Topics in the management section included:

  • GENIE a social network intervention designed to enhance and diversify support for people with long term conditions 
  • Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale (HMR) Long Term Conditions Test Bed – Ruth McDonald (Greater Manchester)
  • The 3D Study: Improving whole person care – Chris Salisbury (West)
  • GRIP Strength Measurement – GRImp Study – (Wessex)
  • Patterns of multimorbidity in middle aged and older adults: An analysis of the UK biobank data – Nafeesa Dhalwani (East Midlands)
  • What is the impact of day care services on older people with multiple long term conditions – Catherine Lunt (North West Coast)

Following the morning sessions, delegates viewed the poster exhibition and then looked at ways CLAHRCs could further work together and had an open discussion about a strategy for future working.

The recent RAND Corporation report ‘Future of Health: Findings from a survey of stakeholders on the future of health and healthcare in England’, commissioned by the NIHR, identified multimorbidity as a key priority for research.