Background: Priority setting and decision-making in relation to self-management of multiple conditions is particularly challenging for both patients and health professionals. The aim of this study was to validate a conceptual model of self-management priority setting and decision-making in multimorbidity and confirm factors that influence self-management prioritizing and decision-making in a sample of patients with acute coronary syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Methods: This was a qualitative study using deductive directed content analysis. A purposive sample of 21 participants with acute coronary syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus that were admitted to a Shanghai hospital were interviewed.
Results: Participants provided evidence to confirm all but one of the factors from the conceptual model. Internal factors influencing self-management predominated. Agreement with recommended treatment, functional capacity and perceived synergies, antagonistic effects, or interactions among the conditions and prescribed treatments, was emphasized. The facilitators and barriers to priority setting and decision-making were related to available resources, provider communication and, to a lesser extent, confusion about recommendations, and treatment complexity. Some participants were also concerned about treatment side effects.
Conclusions: Internal factors (personal beliefs, preferences, and attitudes) and facilitators and barriers (knowledge, finances, social support, and transportation) were related to changes in priority setting and decision-making and self-management behavior in this sample. Health education, which includes case studies with shifting self-management priorities is recommended, rather than a unique disease-specific focus. Further research, exploring the relationship between these factors and changes in the dominant condition and related management, using valid and reliable instruments that capture these key factors, is recommended.