Current definitions of advanced multimorbidity: a protocol for a scoping review

Sarah P Bowers (Lead / Corresponding author), Polly Black, Lewis McCheyne, Darcy Wilson, Sarah E E Mills, Utkarsh Agrawal, Linda Williams, Frances Quirk, Jo Bowden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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INTRODUCTION: People living with and dying from multimorbidity are increasing in number, and ensuring quality care for this population is one of the major challenges facing healthcare providers. People with multimorbidity often have a high burden of palliative and end-of-life care needs, though they do not always access specialist palliative care services. A key reason for this is that they are often not identified as being in the last stages of their life by current healthcare providers and systems.This scoping review aims to identify and present the available evidence on how people with multimorbidity are currently included in research, policy and clinical practice.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Scoping review methodology, based on Arksey and O'Malley's framework, will be undertaken and presented using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews. Search terms have been generated using the key themes of 'multimorbidity', 'end of life' and 'palliative care'. Peer-reviewed research will be obtained through systematic searching of Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, Scopus and PsycINFO. Grey literature will be searched in a systematic manner. Literature containing a definition for adults with multimorbidity in a terminal phase of their illness experience will be included. After screening studies for eligibility, included studies will be described in terms of setting and characteristics as well as using inductive content analysis to highlight the commonalities in definitions.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval is not required for this scoping review. The findings of the scoping review will be used internally as part of SPB's PhD thesis at the University of St Andrews through the Multimorbidity Doctoral Training Programme for Health Professionals, which is supported by the Wellcome Trust (223499/Z/21/Z) and published in an open access, peer-reviewed journal for wider dissemination.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere076903
Number of pages5
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2023


  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Multimorbidity
  • Palliative Care/methods
  • Terminal Care
  • Hospice Care
  • Physicians
  • Research Design
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic
  • Decision Making
  • Life Change Events
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Adult palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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