Lisbeth Ortenblad is mag.art. in Social Anthropology and MPH. She is employed as senior researcher by DEFACTUM, Public Health and Health Services Research, Central Denmark Region. She has for many years taken a special interest in patients' perspectives within the health care sector and her research area concentrate mainly on patients' and health care personnel's' perspectives on chronic diseases and multimorbidity.
Objective:The importance of everyday life when managing the burden of treatment is rarely studied. This study explores the burden of treatment among people with multimorbidity by investigating the tension between everyday life and the health care system. Method: This was an ethnographic study using participant-observations and individual interviews. An inductive analytical approach was applied, moving from observations and results to broader generalisations. Results: People with multimorbidity experience dilemmas related to their individual priorities in everyday life and the management of their treatment burdens. Dilemmas were identified within three domains: family and social life; work life; agendas and set goals in appointments with health professionals. Individual resources and priorities in everyday life play a dominant role in resolving dilemmas and navigating the tension between everyday life and the health care system. Discussion: People with multimorbidity are seldom supported by health professionals in resolving the dilemmas they must face. This study suggests an increased focus on patient-centeredness and argues in favour of planning health care through cooperation between health professionals and people with multimorbidity in a way that integrates both health and everyday life priorities.