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Aim. The aim of this study was to follow the symptom trajectory of communitydwelling older people with multimorbidity and to explore the effect on symptom burden from an ambulatory geriatric care unit, based on comprehensive geriatric assessment. Background. Older community-dwelling people with multimorbidity suffer from a high symptom burden with a wide range of co-occurring symptoms often resulting to decreased health-related quality of life. There is a need to move from a single-disease model and address the complexity of older people living with multimorbidity. Design. Secondary outcome data from the randomized controlled Ambulatory Geriatric Assessment Frailty Intervention Trial (AGe-FIT). Methods. Symptom trajectory of 31 symptoms was assessed with the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale. Data from 247 participants were assessments at baseline, 12 and 24 months, 2011–2013. Participants in the intervention group received care from an ambulatory geriatric care unit based on comprehensive geriatric assessment in addition to usual care. Results. Symptom prevalence and symptom burden were high and stayed high over time. Pain was the symptom with the highest prevalence and burden. Over the 2-year period 68–81% of the participants reported pain. Other highly prevalent and persistent symptoms were dry mouth, lack of energy and numbness/ tingling in the hands/feet, affecting 38–59% of participants. No differences were found between the intervention and control group regarding prevalence, burden or trajectory of symptoms. Conclusions. Older community-dwelling people with multimorbidity had a persistent high burden of symptoms. Receiving advanced interdisciplinary care at an ambulatory geriatric unit did not significantly reduce the prevalence or the burden of symptoms


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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