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Innovating care for people with multiple chronic conditions in Europe: An overview.

Heide, I. van der, Snoeijs, S., Melchiorre, M.G., Quattrini, S., Boerma, W., Schellevis, F., Rijken, M. Innovating care for people with multiple chronic conditions in Europe: An overview. Utrecht: NIVEL, 2015. 72 p.
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Why is multimorbidity a challenge for European countries?
• Currently an estimated 50 million people in Europe live with multiple chronic conditions (multimorbidity), and this number will further increase in the next decade. Especially among people aged 65 and over multimorbidity is common with prevalence rates estimated as high as 65%.
• Multimorbidity deeply impacts on the lives of individuals in terms of physical, psychological and social wellbeing. The comprehensive needs for long-term care and support of people with multimorbidity result in a high pressure on European health care systems in terms of the complexity of treatment and care delivery, manpower and costs. It is increasingly being recognized that the provision of care delivered by
different disciplines and/or sectors in an integrated manner may be more effective in terms of quality of care, patient and care provider satisfaction, patient outcomes and costs, compared to fragmented care, though the evidence is still weak.

What was found in the ICARE4EU project?
• Based on information provided by a survey among country-experts in 31 European countries, hardly any strategies or policies at a national or regional level directed at (integrated) care for people with multimorbidity have been identified. Most of the current national and regional policies or strategies concerning chronic illness care are disease specific.
• Innovative approaches to improve care for people with multimorbidity have nevertheless been introduced in clinical practice in many European countries: countryexperts identified 101 practices or programmes1, mostly operational at a local or regional level, in 25 European countries.
• Most programmes that had been identified are from Spain (n=15). The number of identified programmes from other European countries varies between one and nine. In some countries no programmes were identified.
• According to the responding contact persons of these programmes, increasing multidisciplinary collaboration is the objective most often strived for. Furthermore, improving patient involvement and improving care coordination are frequently mentioned objectives of the programmes. (aut. ref.)