Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe challenges in self-management activities among people with multimorbidity during a 4-week post-discharge period.
Design: This is a longitudinal qualitative study using data from a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of motivational interviewing (MI) sessions.
Setting: The RCT was conducted at six wards in two hospitals-one university hospital and one general hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, during 2016-2018.
Participants: Sixteen participants from the intervention group, diagnosed with heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and at least one other chronic condition, were purposively selected for this study.
Interventions: Each participant had four or five post-discharge MI sessions with a trained social worker during a period of approximately 4 weeks. The sessions were recorded digitally and analysed using content analysis. Altogether, 70 recorded sessions were analysed.
Results: Self-management after hospital discharge was a dynamic process with several shifting features that evolved gradually over time. Patients with multimorbidity experienced two major challenges with self-management in the first 4 weeks following hospital discharge: 'Managing a system-centred care' and 'Handling the burden of living with multiple illnesses at home post-discharge'.
Conclusions: Self-management for patients with multimorbidity in the first post-discharge period does not equate to a fixed set of tasks, but varies over the post-discharge period. Self-management challenges include not only the burden of the disease itself, but also that of navigating and understanding the healthcare system. Hence, self-management support post-discharge involves both aiding patients with care coordination and meeting their gradually shifting disease-related needs.
Trial registration number: NCT02823795.
Keywords: chronic airways disease; general medicine (see internal medicine); heart failure; primary care; qualitative research.
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