Morbidity in the medical world means a diseased state or symptom, and comorbidity denotes the simultaneous presence of more than one disease or condition in the same person. While many people struggle with common medical comorbidities, such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease, others are afflicted with medical and behavioral health comorbidities.
According to a 2019 American Hospital Association (AHA) TrendWatch publication, nearly 30% of adults with a medical condition also have at least one behavioral health issue, and approximately 70% of behavioral health patients have a medical comorbidity.
The AHA reports that medical and behavioral health comorbidities often complicate care protocols, negatively affect patient outcomes and increase the cost of care.
Several factors are thought to contribute to recent increases in medical and behavioral health comorbidity, including an aging population, the rising incidence of chronic illness and growing issues with substance abuse.
While patients with medical and behavioral health comorbidities are seen in all settings across the care continuum, there is growing realization that current inpatient room designs often fail to meet the unique needs of this population and those who care for them.