General practitioners’ considerations of and experiences with multimorbidity patients: A qualitative study

Lisbeth Ørtenblad; Nina Konstantin Nissen

Introduction:

General practitioners’ management of multimorbid patients is mostly described as a burden, although it is also indicated that fundamental characteristics of general practice are well-suited to accommodate appropriate management of multimorbidity. However, little is known about actual practices among general practitioners. This study explores general practitioners’ management of their multimorbid patients. 

Methods:

A qualitative methodological design using participant observation and interviews. Interpretive description was used as the analytical framework. The study took place in a provincial town in Denmark. Three general practices with a total of 12 general practitioners participated. 

Results:

‘Multimorbidity’ as general terminology does not reflect the practice of the general practitioners. Their approach is based on the functional capacity of individual patients. The heterogeneity of the group was classified into three categories determining the general practitioners’ approach: the well-functioning patients, the surprising patients and the fragile patients. Three core characteristics were identified as pivotal for the general practitioners’ approach: holistic view of the patient’s situation, patient-centred focus and coordinator and facilitator. These are fundamental characteristics of general practice, but become especially significant because they accommodate the complexity and heterogeneity of multimorbid patients. 

Discussion:

This study expands the subject field by exploring the general practitioners’ actual practices, thereby providing new perspectives into features that support appropriate management of multimorbid patients. General practitioners balance administrative and clinical regulations in their considerations of accommodating the heterogeneity and complexity of multimorbid patients. This suggests that better possibilities must be provided to realize the fundamental characteristics of general practice to support their management of multimorbid patients.

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Udgivelsesform Videnskabelige artikler
År 2019
Udgiver International Journal of Care Coordination