Information for the public
The quality standard for osteoarthritis is made up of 8 statements that describe high‑quality care for adults with osteoarthritis. These statements set out the quality of care you should receive.
1. Adults aged 45 years or over who go to their GP with joint pain that is typical of osteoarthritis are usually diagnosed with osteoarthritis without the need for an X‑ray or a scan. This is because the results of X‑rays and scans do not explain symptoms or help when deciding about treatment, and will mean that people do not have unnecessary X‑rays or scans.
2. Adults who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis have an assessment in which they are asked about their pain, how they are managing on a day‑to‑day basis and how the condition is affecting their life overall, including their mood. This will help when deciding the best way to try to improve their symptoms and quality of life.
3. Adults with osteoarthritis agree a self‑management plan with their GP or nurse that covers what they can do to help manage their condition, including improving their symptoms and quality of life. The plan should identify where they can get the support they may need to help them do this.
4. Adults with osteoarthritis are advised and encouraged by healthcare professionals to exercise, both for general fitness and to strengthen the muscles that support their affected joints, because this may help to improve their symptoms.
5. Adults with osteoarthritis who are overweight or obese are offered help to lose weight, because being overweight can make joint pain worse and losing weight should improve symptoms.
6. Adults with osteoarthritis discuss and agree (usually with their GP or practice nurse) when they should have their next review to check how well they are managing and if they need any more support. The timing of their next review will depend on how much their osteoarthritis is affecting them and how well any treatment is working.
7. Adults with osteoarthritis are given information, and are advised and supported to exercise and (if appropriate) lose weight to help with joint pain and stiffness, for at least 3 months before any referral for possible joint surgery.
8. Adults with osteoarthritis who are considering joint surgery discuss this with their healthcare professional to decide if it is right for them, and are not denied a referral because they have not met particular requirements.