Clinical guidelines: what happens when people have multiple conditions?

N Z Med J 2018 03 23;131(1472):73-81. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

Professor, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington.

More people now live with multimorbidity than with a single long-term condition. Despite this, clinical guidelines remain focused on the management of individual conditions. When the treatment recommendations from multiple different disease-specific guidelines are combined for one individual it frequently leads to interactions between treatments, along with a high burden of treatment for patients. It is also recognised that people with multimorbidity are often excluded from the trials that generate the underlying evidence for these guidelines, and that treatment goals from guidelines often fail to align with patient goals. This viewpoint discusses the main issues with applying disease-specific guidelines to individuals with multiple long-term conditions, and presents a set of eight recommendations to improve care for people with multimorbidity in New Zealand.

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March 2018
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