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BMC Geriatrics

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Multimorbidity, Comorbidity, Chronic diseases -- Etiology


Older adults with varying patterns of multimorbidity may require distinct types of care and rely on informal caregiving to meet their care needs. This study aims to identify groups of older adults with distinct, empirically-determined multimorbidity patterns and compare characteristics of informal care received among estimated classes. Methods Data are from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS). Ten chronic conditions were included to estimate multimorbidity patterns among 7532 individuals using latent class analysis. Multinomial logistic regression model was estimated to examine the association between sociodemographic characteristics, health status and lifestyle variables, care-receiving characteristics and latent class membership. Results A four-class solution identified the following multimorbidity groups: some somatic conditions with moderate cognitive impairment (30%), cardiometabolic (25%), musculoskeletal (24%), and multisystem (21%). Compared with those who reported receiving no help, care recipients who received help with household activities only (OR = 1.44, 95% CI 1.05–1.98), mobility but not self-care (OR = 1.63, 95% CI 1.05–2.53), or self-care but not mobility (OR = 2.07, 95% CI 1.29–3.31) had greater likelihood of being in the multisystem group versus the some-somatic group. Having more caregivers was associated with higher odds of being in the multisystem group compared with the some-somatic group (OR = 1.09, 95% CI 1.00-1.18), whereas receiving help from paid helpers was associated with lower odds of being in the multisystem group (OR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.19–0.77). Conclusions Results highlighted different care needs among persons with distinct combinations of multimorbidity, in particular the wide range of informal needs among older adults with multisystem multimorbidity. Policies and interventions should recognize the differential care needs associated with multimorbidity patterns to better provide person-centered care.


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