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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disease and so will often be encountered in general practice. General practice nurses (GPNs) may see people for OA within their triage or ‘minor illness’ clinics. They may also see people who have OA as a comorbidity along with other long term conditions such as diabetes or respiratory disease. Having OA can complicate the care of these patients as it impacts on their ability to keep active. The need for painkilling medication may also have an impact on other drugs prescribed for long term conditions such as asthma and diabetes.

This resource, consisting of five assessment questions at intermediate level, tests your knowledge of the diagnosis and management of osteoarthritis based on national guidance. Complete the resource, including completing the further reading and some or all of the activities, to obtain a certificate for one hour of continuing professional development to include in your annual portfolio.

Aims and objectives

On completion of this resource, you should have an understanding of:

  • The importance of history taking in people with suspected OA
  • The elements of a basic assessment for people with joint pain due to OA
  • The importance of lifestyle interventions in OA
  • The role of pharmacological interventions for pain relief in OA
  • The use of non-pharmacological interventions for pain relief in OA

Recommended reading

Arthritis Research UK. Understanding arthritis: a parliamentary guide to musculoskeletal health. Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance, 2012

Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance. Standards of care for people with osteoarthritis, 2004.

Department of Health. The Musculoskeletal Services Framework: A joint responsibility, doing it differently, 2006 

NICE CG 177. Osteoarthritis: care management in adults, 2014

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