Aim: To identify and evaluate the management and care of older people with multiple chronic health problems (MCHP). Methods: Administrative health data from the Department of Veterans' Affairs and bio-social data from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing are used to determine prevalence of MCHP, treatment patterns and patient outcomes. Focus groups and semistructured interviews are used to gain patient and health practitioner perspectives. Results: The prevalence of MCHP in older people is high (65%) and is associated with increased use of health services, mortality and poorer self-rated health. Australian disease-specific guidelines fail to address MCHP, and treatment conflicts with the potential to cause harm, were common. Conclusion: Improvements in the care and management of older people with MCHP requires: a multifaceted approach, across the health-care system; better coordination of holistic, patient-centred multidisciplinary care; and effective communication and education of all stakeholders. The Health reform agenda in Australia provides an opportunity for change.
- Chronic disease