What our Panel said about multiple health conditions and medications... June 2019

This month, we asked the Consumer Health Panel how they or someone they care for manage(s) multiple health conditions and multiple prescription medications.

The overwhelming majority of our Panel had experience managing both multiple health conditions and medications, with 90% of respondents indicating this.

More than 45% of people said they or someone they care for takes five or more prescription medications to manage their health.

Most people said that they or someone they care for has two or three ongoing health conditions, with more than half of people indicating this.

When asked whether respondents were answering on behalf of themselves or someone else, more than 80% of people were answering for themselves.

For those experiencing ongoing health issues, almost 70% of people attended their doctor’s surgery as the first point of reference, followed by:

  • pharmacy (34%)
  • home care / home help (20%)
  • friends / neighbours (20%).

A further 20% of people didn’t access any community services.

When we asked the Panel to comment on specific services they use, some of the key responses were:

  • home care
  • specialist
  • Meals on Wheels
  • peer support
  • aged care services.

We also asked the Panel how difficult or easy it is to access services they need, on a scale of 1 – 5 (1 being very difficult and 5 being very easy).

According to the survey responses, pharmacy is the easiest service to access, with almost 65% of people rating pharmacy as a 5.

Disability services are the most difficult to access, with almost 80% of people rating disability services as a 1.

 3 in 5 of people report having been hospitalised or visited the Emergency Department in the past 12 months.

June survey pie chart

Above: We asked the Panel whether they or someone they care for has been hospitalised in the past year.

After being discharged, almost 60% of people felt that it was ‘very easy’ or ‘somewhat easy’ to link into the services they needed.

One person commented: “Emergency nurses were wonderful. Community Health were supportive with resources and Peer Support Worker was encouraging and helpful.”

Finally, we asked the Panel what they would change about the health system to keep people well and out of hospital.

We have summarised the top responses to this question below:

  • shorter waiting times, less paperwork and better care coordination
  • more education about mental health and dementia to reduce stigma
  • more medical services in rural areas and incentives for doctors to stay
  • invest more time and money in community programs for older people
  • advocacy services and more empathetic health professionals.

Thank you to our Consumer Health Panel members for sharing your thoughts on managing multiple health conditions and medications. Your responses reinforce to us the importance of supporting rural health care providers and the work of local doctors.

We will continue our work on linking up the different parts of the health system. This is particularly important for people with multiple health conditions who require multiple medications.

In other news, we are about to transition to a new Consumer Health Panel platform, which will help us better engage with you and understand the needs of the community via:

  • the usual monthly surveys
  • quick polls
  • consultation hubs
  • opportunities to share your stories and ideas.

In the coming weeks, you will receive an email with a link to finalise your registration in this new platform – stay tuned!

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Please note: COORDINARE is not a clinical health service and cannot advise individuals about their health care. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider regarding any questions or concerns you may have about a particular medical condition.