Osteoarthritis pilot

Osteoarthritis refers to a clinical syndrome of joint pain accompanied by varying degrees of functional limitation and reduced quality of life. It is the most common form of arthritis, and one of the leading causes of pain and disability worldwide. Osteoarthritis (OA) typically affects the knee, hip, cervical and lumbar spine, distal interphalangeal, proximal interphalangeal, carpometacarpal, and metatarsophalangeal joints.  OA is the most common form of arthritis and the leading cause of chronic disability among older people. More than 50% of people over the age of 65 years have radiological evidence of OA, with approximately 10% of men and 18% of women suffering symptomatic OA (Woolf 2003). Almost everyone has structural evidence of OA on radiographs in at least one joint by the age of 70 (Felson 2004). In a recent population-based cohort study, the lifetime risk of symptomatic knee OA was 45% (Murphy 2008).  


Around a third of people aged 45 years and over in the UK, 8.75 million people, have sought treatment from their general practitioner for joint pain. The impact of osteoarthritis on a person depends on which of their joints are affected, their loss of freedom of movement and the amount of pain they experience. Joint pain can be a substantial barrier to mobility and independence, compromising wellbeing and quality of life. 

While there is as yet no cure for OA, it has become clear that the management of risks and predisposing factors are vital in halting or retarding disease progression. Education, exercise and weight loss are mainstays in the management of OA and the promotion of general health. Patient education about treatment objectives and the importance of changes in lifestyle, exercise, weight reduction is key. It is recommended that initial focus should be on self-help and patient-driven treatments rather than on pharmaceutical interventions. 

This pilot will feed into JIGSAW-E, a programme of work that supports the proactive self-management of joint pain in line with NICE 2014 OA guidance-  https://jigsaw-e.com/patient-focus/guidebook/  The JIGSAW E project, based on research led by Keele University’s Primary Care Research Institute and supported parallel programmes helping clinicians and patients in Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Netherlands,Scotland and France. 


Whilst the JIGSAW-E approach has been implemented with GPs and practice nurses; the project has been adapted according to local health care settings to optimise the valuable and underused resource within community pharmacy.