Exceptional research result for patients suffering from multimorbidity

Jane Murray Cramm

Well-being of this vulnerable group improves thanks to personal care

In this blog, Jane Murray Cramm tells you more about research into personal care for patients with multimorbidity:

“Primary healthcare in the Netherlands is facing a major challenge. The number of people older than 70 is increasing. The same applies to the percentage of elderly in our population as a whole. In a time of double ageing, general practitioners and practice assistants are seeing more patients who suffer from multiple chronic diseases simultaneously, which have an adverse mutual impact and therefore lead to further well-being deterioration. To put a stop to this deterioration, some large-scale programmes had been introduced, but to no avail. In this context, the success of general practitioners and practice assistants of the Zorggroep RCH Midden-Brabant is all the more remarkable.

A year ago, we did some research in intervention practices and control practices. In the intervention practices, patients suffering from multiple chronic illnesses simultaneously (multimorbidity) were given very personal care. In the control practices, these patients were given regular care, focused on clinical and functional results.

Different approach

Personal care has eight dimensions: 1) thought for the patients’ preferences; 2) coordination of healthcare; 3) good information; 4) good education; 5) better access to healthcare; 6) physical comfort; 7) emotional support; and 8) involvement of the family in healthcare. We addressed these dimensions specifically in the intervention practices of Zorggroep RCH Midden-Brabant:

The general practitioners and practice assistants received training in interviewing skills in order to be able to render their care actually more personal. They got used to making decisions together with the patients and their families, while everybody had the patient’s well-being in mind. They asked the patients and their families to complete questionnaires before a visit. They integrated the collective decision-making into the protocol-based healthcare. They ended up with better collaboration with the specialists in the hospitals and took a more solution-oriented and coaching approach in their contacts with these patients.

Results

One year later, the patients in the control practices felt the same as usual. Due to the person-based care, however, the patients suffering form multimorbidity in the intervention practices felt physically and socially better. Their well-being had actually improved. A most exceptional result for this vulnerable population. We therefore whole-heartedly recommend the further roll-out of this personal approach to other GP practices.”

More information

For more information about our research, click on the following links: