Multi-Morbidity in the Older Person: An Examination of Polypharmacy and Socioeconomic Status

Front Public Health. 2021 Jan 18;8:582234. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.582234. eCollection 2020.


There has been increased focus on clinically managing multi-morbidity in the older population, but it can be challenging to find appropriate paradigm that addresses the socio-economic burden and risk for polypharmacy. The Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) has examined the need for institutional change and the parallel need to address the social causes of poor health. This study explored three potential interventions namely, meaningful information from electronic health records (EHR), social prescribing, and redistributive welfare policies from a person-centered perspective using the CARE (connecting, assessing, responding, and empowering) approach. Economic instruments that immediately redistribute state welfare and reduce income disparity such as direct taxation and conditional cash transfers could be adopted to enable older people with long-term conditions have access to healthcare services. Decreased socioeconomic inequality and unorthodox prescriptive interventions that reduce polypharmacy could mitigate barriers to effectively manage the complexities of multi-morbidity.

Keywords: care approach; multi-morbidity; older adult; person-centred care; polypharmacy; socioeconomic status.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Health Services
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Morbidity
  • Polypharmacy*
  • Social Class*