Effect of the OPTIMAL programme on self-management of multimorbidity in primary care: a randomised controlled trial | British Journal of General Practice
Background Effective primary care interventions for multimorbidity are needed.
Aim To evaluate the effectiveness of a group-based, 6-week, occupational therapy-led self-management support programme (OPTIMAL) for patients with multimorbidity.
Design and setting A pragmatic parallel randomised controlled trial across eight primary care teams in Eastern Ireland with 149 patients with multimorbidity, from November 2015 to December 2018. Intervention was OPTIMAL with a usual care comparison.
Method Primary outcomes were health-related quality of life (EQ-5D-3L) and frequency of activity participation (Frenchay Activities Index [FAI]). Secondary outcomes included independence in activities of daily living, occupational performance and satisfaction, anxiety and depression, self-efficacy, and healthcare utilisation. Complete case linear regression analyses were conducted. Age (<65/≥65 years) and the number of chronic conditions (<4/≥4) were explored further.
Results A total of 124 (83.2%) and 121 (81.2%) participants had complete data at immediate and 6-month post-intervention follow-up, respectively. Intervention participants had significant improvement in EQ-VAS (visual analogue scale) at immediate follow-up (adjusted mean difference [aMD] = 7.86; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.92 to 14.80) but no difference in index score (aMD = 0.04; 95% CI = −0.06 to 0.13) or FAI (aMD = 1.22; 95% CI = −0.84 to 3.29). At 6-month follow-up there were no differences in primary outcomes and mixed results for secondary outcomes. Pre-planned subgroup analyses suggested participants aged <65 years were more likely to benefit.
Conclusion OPTIMAL was found to be ineffective in improving health-related quality of life or activity participation at 6-month follow-up. Existing multimorbidity interventions tend to focus on older adults; preplanned subgroup analyses results in the present study suggest that future research should target younger adults (<65 years) with multimorbidity.