Chronic disease, age and need for care

In many countries today, chronic diseases are the predominant health problem of the population and will only increase in the future. They affect people in all phases of life, but especially in advanced age. Various impairments go hand-in-hand with an increasing need for treatment. This becomes most evident in the later stages of disease, when multimorbidity, permanent functional limitations and need for care become more prevalent.

One of the greatest challenges has been adapting the health system to these problems and offering appropriate treatment options. However, for many of these urgent problems, few empirical data exist. In particular, for questions around the subjective level consequences associated with chronic illness and the need for care, sufficient empirical data are lacking. There is also a lack of knowledge about the challenges that life with chronic disease present and how best to ensure uptake of health promotion messages despite illness and impairment.

The aim of this research focus is to fill in these research gaps. The information gained will then be used to develop concepts for the advancement of user-friendly care that satisfies both the objective and subjective health needs of patients, while allowing them to maintain their independence, even in the face of health impairments.


Completed projects

Selected Publications

  • Schaeffer, D. (2017). Chronische Krankheit und Health Literacy. In D. Schaeffer & J. M. Pelikan (Eds.), Health Literacy: Forschungsstand und Perspektiven (pp. 53-70). Bern: Hogrefe.
  • Schaeffer, D., & Haslbeck, J. (2016). Bewältigung chronischer Krankheit. In K. Hurrelmann & M. Richter (Eds.), Soziologie von Gesundheit und Krankheit (pp. 243-257). Berlin: Springer Verlag.
  • Schaeffer, D., & Haslbeck, J. (2013). Komplexe Medikamentenregime bei chronischer Krankheit – diskutiert am Beispiel kardiologischer Erkrankungen. In D. Nittel & A. Seltrecht (Eds.), Krankheit: Lernen im Ausnahmezustand? Brustkrebs und Herzinfarkt aus interdisziplinärer Perspektive (pp. 211-222). Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Kleina, T., & Horn, A. (2015). Gesundheitsförderung bei Pflegebedürftigkeit – Potenziale und Herausforderungen in der stationären Langzeitversorgung. In K. Jacobs, A. Kuhlmey, S. Greß A. & Schwinger (Eds.): Pflegereport 2015. Schwerpunkt: Pflege zwischen Heim und Häuslichkeit (pp.97-108). Stuttgart: Schattauer Verlag.
  • Schaeffer D., & Wingenfeld K. (Eds.) (2014). Handbuch Pflegewissenschaft Studienausgabe. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa.
  • Schaeffer, D. (Hg.) (2009). Bewältigung chronischer Krankheit im Lebenslauf. Bern: Huber.
  • Kuhlmey, A., & Schaeffer, D. (Eds.) (2008). Alter, Gesundheit und Krankheit. Bern: Huber.
  • Schaeffer, D. (2004). Der Patient als Nutzer. Krankheitsbewältigung und Versorgungsnutzung im Verlauf chronischer Krankheit. Bern: Huber.



Maps and Addresses