Universal health outcome measures for older persons with multiple chronic conditions

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Dec;60(12):2333-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04240.x. Epub 2012 Nov 29.


Older adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCCs) require considerable health services and complex care. Because the persistence and progression of diseases and courses of treatments affect health status in multiple dimensions, well-validated universal outcome measures across diseases are needed for research, clinical care, and administrative purposes. An expert panel meeting held by the National Institute on Aging in September 2011 recommends that older persons with MCCs complete a brief initial composite measure that includes general health; pain; fatigue; and physical health, mental health, and social role function, along with gait speed measurement. Suitable composite measures include the Medical Outcomes Study 8 (SF-8) and 36 (SF-36) -item Short-Form Survey and the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System 29-item Health Profile. Based on responses to items in the initial measure, short follow-on measures should be selectively targeted to symptom burden, depression, anxiety, and daily activities. Persons unable to walk a short distance to assess gait speed should be assessed using a physical function scale. Remaining gaps to be considered for measure development include disease burden, cognitive function, and caregiver burden. Routine outcome assessment of individuals with MCCs could facilitate system-based care improvement and clinical effectiveness research.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Cognition
  • Comorbidity*
  • Gait
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mental Health
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Social Support
  • Walking