Research is needed to improve how hospitals work to meet the needs of patients with multiple long-term conditions (MLTCs).
Hospital care is designed to deal with single conditions and yet it’s common that people admitted to hospital are living with MLTCs. People with MLTCs tell us that their hospital care is unsatisfactory and we know that they often stay in hospital longer, their recovery takes longer or they are more likely to experience side effects from medicines.
Five universities are working together to understand how patients with MLTCs move through the hospital system.
- How do they get admitted to hospital?
- How long do they stay?
- Who looks after them?
- Where in the hospital are they cared for?
- What happens to them after discharge?
This is a complex problem to tackle. The researchers plan to look at it in several different ways including through in-depth interviews with patients and hospital staff. There are lots of different combinations of MLTCs that patients live with, and trying to understand all of these at once would be very difficult.
This specific study will look at how patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD – a chronic lung disease) with and without other conditions are admitted to hospital, move through the hospital system, and are discharged from hospital. It will also study whether age, sex, ethnicity and how well-off people are makes a difference to these measures, to understand how inequalities might affect hospital care.
It is hoped that the researchers will develop methods that can be used to study other groups of patients with long-term conditions who are admitted to hospital. The findings will help the NHS to redesign hospital services to provide better quality care, tailored to the individual needs of different patients with COPD, to reduce both length of hospital stay and the chance of readmission. This work is part of an overall research programme which was designed with a panel of patients who live with MLTCs. The programme has a wider group of patient contributors that helps to interpret the findings, suggests new directions for the research to take, and acts as a sounding board for the design of projects and analyses.
This work is part of an overall research programme which was designed with a panel of patients who live with MLTCs. The programme has a wider group of patient contributors that helps to interpret the findings, suggests new directions for the research to take, and acts as a sounding board for the design of projects and analyses.
This project was supported unanimously by the PIONEER Data Trust Committee.
The study is being run by Professor Miles Witham, The University of Newcastle.