The impact of multimorbidity on people's lives: a cross-sectional survey.
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AIMS: To describe the experiences of people living with multimorbidity in New Zealand. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of adults with multimorbidity enrolled in two primary health organisations in New Zealand. Potential participants with multimorbidity were identified using retrospective hospital discharge data coded for long-term conditions. Sampling was stratified by ethnicity (Māori, Pacific and non-Māori/non-Pacific). Analysis was descriptive, with some responses compared to the general population estimates from the New Zealand Health Survey. RESULTS: A total of 234 participants completed the survey (mean age 65.2). Self-reported physical health was poor among the cohort: forty-one percent of participants reported only 'fair' or 'poor' general health, compared to 13.5% in the general population (age and sex standardised), with similar results for both self-reported mental health and physical health. Self-reported health was poorer for Māori and Pacific participants. The majority (70%) of those who were working reported their health had affected their productivity, while nearly 20% of participants reported financial difficulty in taking care of their health needs. CONCLUSIONS: These results emphasise the serious impact multimorbidity has on patients' health status compared to the general population. This research supports the development of holistic patient-centred care models designed to improve patient outcomes.
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