Morbidity in the Dependent Elderly Cared by Home-Teams of the National Network of Continued Integrated Care in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley: Cross-Sectional Study

Paula Broeiro-Gonçalves

Abstract


Introduction: In Portugal, the National Network of Continuing Integrated Care’s mission is to take care of new health and social needs. The aim of the study was to know the disease burden and disability of the elderly (75 and over) cared by the integrated continuing care teams.
Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study carried out in a sample of 230 participants, from 25 teams randomly selected in the region of Lisbon and Tagus Valley. Data were collected at the patient’s home trough caregiver’s interviewing. The variables studied were: socio-demographic; disability determinants; degree (Barthel’s scale) and duration of disability; morbidity (diagnoses, number and Charlson index).
Results: The study population had: on average 84 years; low or no scholar degree level (88.7%); on average 9.5 problems per person and a Charlson index of 8.48; disability over 42 months (severe in 65.2%). The most frequent disability-determinants were: dementia, stroke and femur fracture. The most frequent diagnoses were: osteoarthritis, hypertension and dementia.
Discussion: The results revealed a high disease burden (Charlson of 8.48) and disability. Although the diagnoses were those expected and comparable with the literature, their coexistence was universal, averaging 9.5 per person, affecting different organs/systems. Multimorbidity, coupled with severe disability, leads to clinical and organizational-care challenges, as well as the need for other population base studies.
Conclusion: The population cared by the integrated continuing care teams is at risk: elderly, with low scholar degree level, with a high disease-burden and disability.


Keywords


Aged, 80 and over; Frail Elderly; Homes for the Aged; Long-Term Care; Portugal

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