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ItemIssues concerning the on-going care of patients with comorbidities in acute care and post-discharge in Australia: a literature reviewWilliams, A ; Botti, M (WILEY, 2002-10-01)BACKGROUND: Advances in medical science and improved lifestyles have reduced mortality rates in Australia and most western countries. This has resulted in an ageing population with a concomitant growth in the number of people who are living with chronic illnesses. Indeed a significant number of younger people experience more than one chronic illness. Large numbers of these may require repeated admissions to hospital for acute or episodic care that is superimposed upon the needs of their chronic conditions. AIM: To explore the issues that circumscribe the complexities of caring for people with concurrent chronic illnesses, or comorbidities, in the acute care setting and postdischarge. METHODS: A literature review to examine the issues that impact upon the provision of comprehensive care to patients with comorbidities in the acute care setting and postdischarge. FINDINGS: Few studies have investigated this subject. From an Australian perspective, it is evident that the structure of the current health care environment has made it difficult to meet the needs of patients with comorbidities in the acute care setting and postdischarge. This is of major concern for nurses attempting to provide comprehensive care to an increasingly prevalent group of chronically ill people. CONCLUSION: Further research is necessary to explore how episodic care is integrated into the on-going management of patients with comorbidities and how nurse clinicians can better use an episode of acute illness as an opportunity to review their overall management.
ItemPatient with comorbidities: perceptions of care during an acute illnessWILLIAMS, ALLISON (Blackwell, 2004)Background. Advances in medical science and improved lifestyles have reduced mortality rates in Australia and most Western countries. As a result, there is an ageing population with a concomitant growth in the number of people living with chronic illnesses. Indeed, a significant number of people will experience multiple chronic illnesses (comorbidities) and may require admission to hospital for acute care that is superimposed on their chronic illnesses. Aim. The aim of this study was to investigate perceptions of quality of care by patients experiencing comorbidities who required an acute hospital stay. Method. A qualitative descriptive design was adopted, informed by Colaizzi’ sphenomenological method. Single semi-structured interviews were conducted with12 patients within 14 days of being discharged home after an acute illness episode. Findings. Data analysis revealed three themes: poor continuity of care for comorbidities, the inevitability of something going wrong during acute care and chronic conditions persisting after discharge. Combinations of chronic illnesses and treatments affected these patients’ experiences of acute care and recovery postdischarge. Medicalized conceptualizations of comorbidity failed to capture the underlying health care needs of these patients. Limitations. No generalizations can be drawn because the findings and conclusions were derived from a purposive sample of patients who agreed to participate. Conclusion. These findings have implications for a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to this group of patients, and inform the body of nursing knowledge about how patients with comorbidities experience nursing care.