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Evidence to Improve Care


Care for Adults With Osteoarthritis of the Knee, Hip, or Hand

Quality standards are sets of concise statements designed to help health care professionals easily and quickly know what care to provide, based on the best evidence.

See below for a summary of the quality standard or download it for more detailed statements.

Download the Osteoarthritis Quality Standard

Quality Statement 1: Clinical Assessment for Diagnosis
People who have persistent, atraumatic, movement-related joint pain or aching, and/or morning stiffness lasting less than 30 minutes, are diagnosed with osteoarthritis based on clinical assessment. Radiological imaging is not required to make a diagnosis in people aged 40 years or older if their symptoms are typical of osteoarthritis.

Quality Statement 2: Comprehensive Assessment to Inform the Care Plan
People who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis receive a comprehensive assessment of their needs to inform the development of their care plan.

Quality Statement 3: Patient Education
People with osteoarthritis are offered education to facilitate a self-management plan. This education is provided in accessible formats.

Quality Statement 4: Patient Self-Management Plan
People with osteoarthritis are supported to develop an individualized, goal-oriented self-management plan that evolves to address ongoing symptom management and access to resources and supports.

Quality Statement 5: Therapeutic Exercise
People with hip or knee osteoarthritis are strongly encouraged to participate in specific progressive neuromuscular training, muscle strengthening, and aerobic exercise of sufficient frequency intensity and duration to maintain or improve joint health and physical fitness.

Quality Statement 6: Physical Activity
People with osteoarthritis are strongly encouraged to optimize their physical activity and minimize sedentary activity, and are offered information and support to help them toward these goals.

Quality Statement 7: Weight Management
People with osteoarthritis who are overweight or obese are offered patient-centred weight-management strategies, and people at a normal weight are encouraged to maintain their weight.

Quality Statement 8: Pharmacological Symptom Management
People with symptomatic osteoarthritis are offered pain-relieving medication options when nonpharmacological treatments are insufficient to control their symptoms.

Quality Statement 9: Referral to a Health Care Professional with Additional Skills in Osteoarthritis Management
People with osteoarthritis, when clinically indicated, are referred by their primary care provider to a health care professional with additional skills in osteoarthritis management.

Quality Statement 10: Referral for Consideration of Joint Surgery
People with osteoarthritis whose symptoms are not sufficiently controlled through nonsurgical management and whose quality of life is negatively impacted by their joint-related symptoms should be referred for consideration of joint surgery.

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