Theme 4: Better management of medical-psychiatric multimorbidity
Research to improve the care of those with a mental illness that is associated with physical illness.
Our health services typically provide separate services for treating physical and mental illnesses, even where people have both.
We call this combination of physical and mental illnesses 'medical-psychiatric multimorbidity'.
Multimorbidity is a problem because it leads to poorer quality of life and worse outcomes than for patients with only a single form of illness. Treating multimorbidity also tends to be more expensive – due to the separation of mental and physical health care services.
This theme carries out research to improve the care of those with medical-psychiatric multimorbidity.
The theme will research how common multimorbidity is in specific groups of people and aim to understand what forms it takes. This might be, for example, the types and severity of mental health issues, like depression or anxiety, faced by cancer patients.
The research will also try to identify any barriers to improving the care of multimorbid patients. This will be done using techniques such as interviews with patients and the staff responsible for their care.
The findings, combined with systematic reviews of published research, will be used to develop new interventions – new types of services tailored to address the problems identified.
These will be tested, and improved with feedback, to ensure they are practical and acceptable to patients and clinicians.
Randomised controlled trials, funded by further grant applications, will then evaluate the effectiveness of these new interventions.
Professor Michael Sharpe, Professor of Psychological Medicine at the University of Oxford's Department of Psychiatry, leads this theme.
Find out more about Professor Sharpe's work with the AHSN comorbidity clinical network.