Background Indicative evidence suggests that the prevalence of multiple long term conditions (i.e., conditions that cannot be cured but can be managed with medication and other treatments) may be higher in people from minoritised ethnic groups when compared to people from the White majority population. Some studies also suggest that there are ethnic inequalities in healthcare use and care quality among people with multiple long term conditions (MLTCs). The aims of this review are to (1) identify and describe the literature that reports on ethnicity and healthcare use and care quality among people with MLTCs in the UK and (2) examine how healthcare use and/or care quality for people with MLTCs compares across ethnic groups
Methods We registered the protocol on PROSPERO (CRD42020220702). We searched the following databases up to December 2020: ASSIA, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, ScienceDirect, Scopus, and Web of Science core collection. Reference lists of key articles were also hand searched for relevant studies. The outcomes of interest were patterns of healthcare use and care quality among people with MLTCs for at least one minoritised ethnic group, compared to the White majority population in the UK. To address the second aim we included only studies that also counted more than two long term conditions as they are more likely to give insight into those with complex medical needs and greater healthcare use. Two reviewers screened and extracted data from a random sample of studies (10%). Due to the heterogeneity of the studies, we conducted a narrative synthesis.
Results Of the 718 studies identified, 14 were eligible for inclusion. There was evidence indicating ethnic inequalities in disease management and emergency admissions among people with MLTCs in the five studies that counted more than two long term conditions. Compared to their White counterparts, Black and Asian children and young people had higher rates of emergency admissions. Black and South Asian people were found to have suboptimal disease management compared to other ethnic groups.
Conclusion The findings suggest that for some minoritised ethnic group people with MLTCs there may be inadequate initiatives for managing health conditions and/or a need for enhanced strategies to reduce ethnic inequalities in healthcare. However, the few studies identified focused on a variety of conditions across different domains of healthcare use, and many of these studies used broad ethnic group categories. As such, further research focusing on MLTCs and using expanded ethnic categories in data collection is needed.
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