OBJECTIVE: This paper describes the sociodemographic and health-related characteristics of people with chronic disease attending an interprofessional student-assisted clinic in regional Queensland.
DESIGN: A retrospective review of data collected during the first 10 months of operation of the clinic was conducted. SETTING, PARTICIPANTS AND OUTCOME MEASURES: Data was collected on up to 378 patients during an intake appointment at the Capricornia Allied Health Partnership (CAHP) community-based clinic and compared with normative reference groups where available. Sociodemographic characteristics included age, gender and education level; health-related characteristics included body mass index and hospitalisations in the previous 12 months; and risk factors included prescribed medications, smoking status and general practitioner-diagnosed medical conditions.
RESULTS: Patients attending the CAHP clinic had a mean number of chronic conditions of 4.9 ± 2.1 per patient, and 97% of patients had multimorbidities. A high level of socioeconomic disadvantage was found in comparison with normative comparison groups based on employment, highest level of schooling completed and the index of social disadvantage. Patients predominantly lived in inner regional areas (76.7%). The most common diagnoses of patients attending the clinic for the first time were hypertension, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, diabetes and chronic back pain.
CONCLUSIONS: The CAHP clinic offers a unique student-assisted service model for interprofessional management of patients who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, have multimorbid chronic disease and live in regional areas. The description of baseline data in this paper is important to refine clinic services, to guide other chronic disease clinics and to inform future research study designs.