Heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease multimorbidity at hospital discharge transition: a study of patient and carer experience

Health Expect. 2015 Dec;18(6):2401-12. doi: 10.1111/hex.12208. Epub 2014 May 16.


Background: Care for patients with multimorbidity represents a major challenge not only for patients and carers but to health-care systems. Hospital discharge transition is a critical point at which challenges for multimorbidity may amplify.

Objectives: The main objective of the study was to explore the experiences of heart failure (HF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) multimorbid patients and their carers on hospital discharge. Secondary objectives included identification of gaps in the health care of multimorbidity and optimal solutions from patients and carers' perspectives.

Design: Mixed methods were applied to collect data using patient self-completion questionnaire from an adapted version of the American Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey and in-depth interviews.

Setting: Participants were recruited from two cardiology and respiratory wards at a large regional hospital in England, and all had a multimorbidity diagnosis of COPD and HF.

Results and conclusions: Findings revealed that patients experienced difficulties in their communication with health-care professionals and there were specific challenges with information about medication. Qualitative descriptions revealed that experiences fell into two main categories: (i) information transfer to patients with multimorbidity in terms of issues with medication and clarity of information on diagnosis and (ii) communication and continuity of care after discharge. Respondents highlighted gaps in the management of patients with multimorbidity of HF and COPD at the critical time of care transition. They suggested the need for a comprehensive, coordinated and integrated approach to incorporate patients, carers and staff preferences for treatment on discharge from hospital.

Keywords: communication; discharge planning; heart failure; medication; multimorbidity; obstructive lung disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • England
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Heart Failure / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires