The ageing population, lifestyles changes (obesity, low levels of activity), ethnic mix and increased survival of previous fatal events has resulted in an increase in the number of people with a long term condition (LTC), and is set to rise by a quarter in the next 25 years. Many citizens now live for many years with LTC creating new opportunities and new challenges for knowledge and research. The generic LTC model places the emphasis on engaging the individual in making shared decisions about their care, the delivery of such a model is complex and the resource implications of managing LTCs significant.
The growing prevalence of LTCs and the relationship, in some cases, with individual behaviour, has increased the emphasis on preventive and public health approaches as the basis for human well-being. Improving early intervention, clinical provision and rehabilitation of those with LTCs, is essential to reduce the service demands. Indeed, KH&P is interested in the way that services are delivered which has critical implications for the training and deployment of health professionals, volunteers and the engagement of patients and carers in care-planning.
Whilst the breadth of knowledge originating from this research theme surrounds people managing a LTC, health information generally, the provision and access to information at a time that is relevant to and useful to an individual underpin the research focus. Transdisciplinary research bringing together digital and social media expertise with health information specialists and clinicians has extended our knowledge and understanding of health information provision and the use of digital and social media. This is transferrable knowledge and has been investigated in other groups than just LTC; such as pregnant women/new mothers, young women access to cervical screening, LGBT community.
The research programme explores health information, patient choice, supported self-care, integration and cross boundary working to improve outcomes for individuals, producing a more effective and efficient health and social care.