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    Experiences of hospital care for people with multiple long-term conditions: a scoping review of qualitative research

    Bellass, Sue ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9383-4116, Scharf, Thomas, Errington, Linda, Bowden Davies, Kelly, Robinson, Sian, Runacres, Adam ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8251-2805, Ventre, Jodi, Witham, Miles D, Sayer, Avan A and Cooper, Rachel (2024) Experiences of hospital care for people with multiple long-term conditions: a scoping review of qualitative research. BMC Medicine, 22 (1). 25. ISSN 1741-7015

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    Abstract

    Background Multiple long-term conditions—the co-existence of two or more chronic health conditions in an individual—present an increasing challenge to populations and healthcare systems worldwide. This challenge is keenly felt in hospital settings where care is oriented around specialist provision for single conditions. The aim of this scoping review was to identify and summarise published qualitative research on the experiences of hospital care for people living with multiple long-term conditions, their informal caregivers and healthcare professionals. Methods We undertook a scoping review, following established guidelines, of primary qualitative research on experiences of hospital care for people living with multiple long-term conditions published in peer-reviewed journals between Jan 2010 and June 2022. We conducted systematic electronic searches of MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycInfo, Proquest Social Science Premium, Web of Science, Scopus and Embase, supplemented by citation tracking. Studies were selected for inclusion by two reviewers using an independent screening process. Data extraction included study populations, study design, findings and author conclusions. We took a narrative approach to reporting the findings. Results Of 8002 titles and abstracts screened, 54 papers reporting findings from 41 studies conducted in 14 countries were identified as eligible for inclusion. The perspectives of people living with multiple long-term conditions (21 studies), informal caregivers (n = 13) and healthcare professionals (n = 27) were represented, with 15 studies reporting experiences of more than one group. Findings included poor service integration and lack of person-centred care, limited confidence of healthcare professionals to treat conditions outside of their specialty, and time pressures leading to hurried care transitions. Few studies explored inequities in experiences of hospital care. Conclusions Qualitative research evidence on the experiences of hospital care for multiple long-term conditions illuminates a tension between the desire to provide and receive person-centred care and time pressures inherent within a target-driven system focussed on increasing specialisation, reduced inpatient provision and accelerated journeys through the care system. A move towards more integrated models of care may enable the needs of people living with multiple long-term conditions to be better met. Future research should address how social circumstances shape experiences of care.

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