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Researcher receives substantial grant for research into multimorbidity

Anette Riisgaard Ribe from Aarhus University has just received a grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation for research into multimorbidity –when a person suffers from at least two chronic disorders simultaneously.

What happens to elderly people who are admitted to hospital with a physical condition, but who also have mental disorders? This is the focus of Anette Riisgaard Ribe’s research. She has now received a grant of DKK one million from the Novo Nordisk Foundation towards her project. 

"Multimorbidity is one of the biggest challenges facing the modern healthcare system. I carry out research into what it means for elderly patients to have psychiatric disorders, such as depression, dementia and severe psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder), while also suffering from physical conditions, for example problems with heart rhythm such as atrial fibrillation," says Anette Riisgaard Ribe.

She emphasises that society needs improved knowledge of the complex interaction between psychiatric disorders and physical conditions in the elderly. A better understanding is important in order to assess how elderly people suffering from multimorbidity can receive the best possible support.

Together with her colleagues from the research group MEPRICA (Mental Health in Primary Care), Anette Riisgaard Ribe will carry out a population-based study based on the Danish national registers. The aim is to evaluate the prognosis for elderly people with both psychiatric disorders and frequent physical conditions, which are typical for this target group.

"We really want to find an answer to the question of how elderly people with psychiatric disorders get on when they are admitted to hospital with physical conditions, and how the healthcare system tackles the challenge of having to treat physical conditions in elderly people suffering from psychiatric disorders," says the researcher.

The grant provides her with the opportunity to continue the research she carried out in her PhD project into mental-physical multimorbidity, but now with focus on geriatric patients.

"I hope to be able to combine this research with my clinical medical specialist training in geriatrics and thus make use of the two year grant over a four year period," says Anette Riisgaard Ribe.

Further information

Anette Riisgaard Ribe
Aarhus University, Department of Public Health, Research Unit for General Medical Practice
Tel.: (+45) 8716 7941