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Development of an international comorbidity education framework

Lawson, C.; Pati, S.; Green, J.; Messina, G.; Strömberg, A.; Nante, N.; Golinelli, D.; Verzuri, A.; White, S.; Jaarsma, T.; Walsh, P.; Lonsdale, P.; Kadam, U.T.

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C. Lawson

S. Pati

J. Green

G. Messina

A. Strömberg

N. Nante

D. Golinelli

A. Verzuri

T. Jaarsma

P. Walsh

P. Lonsdale

U.T. Kadam


The increasing number of people living with multiple chronic conditions in addition to an index condition has become an international healthcare priority. Health education curricula have been developed alongside single condition frameworks in health service policy and practice and need redesigning to incorporate optimal management of multiple conditions.

Our aims were to evaluate current teaching and learning about comorbidity care amongst the global population of healthcare students from different disciplines and to develop an International Comorbidity Education Framework (ICEF) for incorporating comorbidity concepts into health education.

We surveyed nursing, medical and pharmacy students from England, India, Italy and Sweden to evaluate their understanding of comorbidity care. A list of core comorbidity content was constructed by an international group of higher education academics and clinicians from the same disciplines, by searching current curricula and analysing clinical frameworks and the student survey data. This list was used to develop the International Comorbidity Education Framework.

The survey sample consisted of 917 students from England (42%), India (48%), Italy (8%) and Sweden (2%). The majority of students across all disciplines said that they lacked knowledge, training and confidence in comorbidity care and were unable to identify specific teaching on comorbidities. All student groups wanted further comorbidity training. The health education institution representatives found no specific references to comorbidity in current health education curricula. Current clinical frameworks were used to develop an agreed list of core comorbidity content and hence an International Comorbidity Education Framework.

Based on consultation with academics and clinicians and on student feedback we developed an International Comorbidity Education Framework to promote the integration of comorbidity concepts into current healthcare curricula.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 8, 2017
Online Publication Date May 17, 2017
Publication Date 2017-08
Journal Nurse Education Today
Print ISSN 0260-6917
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 55
Pages 82-89
Keywords Comorbidity; multimorbidity; health; curriculum; education
Publisher URL


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