Multimorbidity and the use of health and social care

This research is examining how multimorbidity (two or more chronic medical conditions) impacts on the social care people in Scotland receive.  

Our research

The overall aim of this study is to assess whether multimorbidity has an impact on the type and amount of social care, people over the age of 65 received between 2011 and 2016 in Scotland. It will also compare unscheduled health care use for those that receive social care in the study period, with those that do not. 

This work will provide a range of benefits. First, in new and novel analyses it will provide detailed descriptions of the patterns of social care services delivery across Scotland and how multimorbidity impacts on social care provision. It will also describe the association, if any, between the use of social care and unscheduled health care services for those with multimorbidity – precisely the kind of service interaction which health and social care integration is intended to identify, leading to more efficient use of scarce public resources. Additionally, the work will improve understanding of the quality of the linked health and social care dataset. The work is of great importance to developing a better understanding of the relationship between multimorbidity and health & social care provision in Scotland. 

To date we have assessed the following questions for people over the age of 65 in Scotland: 

  • What are the socio-economic, demographic, and geographic patterns in the use of social care? 
  • Is there an association between multimorbidity status and the amount and type of social care use over time? Does this vary by the patterns described in the previous point? 
  • Is there an association in the use of social care services, multimorbidity status and unscheduled health care use? 

Following on from the above, a second piece of work aims to exploit the depth of the linked health and social care data to answer policy-relevant questions. While finalised questions are to be confirmed, potential questions are as follows: 

  • What are the socio-economic patterns of unscheduled and social care use? 
  • What proportion of patients at the end of life contact out-of-hours services? 
  • What proportion of ambulance transfers to A&E result in direct discharge? 
  • What are the socio-economic differences in individuals who use self-directed support social care options? 

Data this research aims to link and analyse

  • Prescribing Information System
  • CHI (Community Health Index)
  • Unscheduled Care Data Mart
  • Deaths records
  • Social care survey

Research team

David Henderson 

Publications and outputs

When  further publications or outputs are available, they will be shared here. For more information about this project, please contact us.