Long-term conditions are illnesses for which there is no current cure and which need to be managed over a long period of time rather than being treated during a short episode of care. They can have considerable impact on a person’s quality of life and on their family. Multimorbidity describes people who have to live with more than one condition. This affects many older people and places great strain on health and social care services.

Examples include diabetes, asthma, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mental ill health, and a range of disabling neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, frailty, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

Mortality rates in older people have been higher from Covid-19, along with increased susceptibility to severe Covid-19. This is due to factors including weaker immune response, obesity, diabetes, respiratory disease, age-related decline in respiratory function, frailty and multimorbidity.

Some older people who tested positive for Covid-19 were asymptomatic, whilst others had symptoms ranging from mild to very severe. For those who survived, a proportion may go on to suffer from long-term effects of Covid-19 known as “Long Covid”. Management of ongoing symptoms needs to be on an individual basis and enhanced levels of care and support may be needed.

This topic covers the main elements of the management of long-term medical conditions, including essential care and support strategies.

Related information can be found in a number of other topics in this product, including Healthcare for Service Users, Needs Assessment, Care and Support Plans and Telecare.

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