Background Osteoarthritis (OA) and other joint pains are generally seen as ailments that affect people with age. With the increase in life expectancy over recent decades, the prevalence of people with OA is drastically growing. Estimates suggest that there are 242M people with OA in the world1; 30M live in Europe2. The most commonly affected joint at the present time is the knee, followed by hips and shoulders3.
Objectives To run an educational program that will provide elderly people with tools to tackle their problems of joints so that they can improve their quality of life by adopting non-pharmacological measures. A well-informed patient knows how to address their disease. Thus, they can improve their quality of life.
Methods The method is based on the capacity of a motivated patient to positively influence others also worried by their health situation by sharing their experiences and awareness of the disease.
Stage I. Preparatory actions:
1. Elaboration of contents: An expert team (psychologist, nurse, rheumatologist, family doctor, physiotherapist and rehabilitator) elaborates the content: Knowledge, Weight control, Doing the right exercise, Dealing with the disease
2. Engagement of the target group: “La Caixa” Banking Foundation is supporting this study by giving access to its 63 senior centers in Catalonia (Spain)
3. Selection of senior centers: The educational program is planned to be run in 6 centers. Currently, 20 centers are conducting initial presentations to evaluate interest and ensure the selection of 6 final centers
4. Enrollment of smart seniors: 12 people will be selected (2 per center), called hereafter, “smart patients”, through a survey so we can assess interest of enrolling and quality of the presentation
Stage II. Training and implementation:
5. Training of smart patients: Train selected smart patients during 9 sessions, 90 minutes each
6. Training groups of patients: Every smart patient will train 2 groups of 10 people also interested in joint health. A nurse will be in every session, giving support only if necessary
7. Evaluation and follow-up: Improvement of participants in the course will be assessed (anticipated sample size 240 people) by surveying level of satisfaction (ARTS questionnaire), improvement of pain and functionality (WOMAC), improvement in perceived quality of life (EuroQuol 5), improvement of the degree of self-care to achieve a good management of the disease (IC, MPOC and TAC programs), improvement in therapeutic compliance
Results Stage I initial presentations have been conducted at 8 out of 20 centers in urban and semi-rural areas to account for different social, economic, education and lifestyle demographics. Participants surveyed: 305; Interest in being a smart patient: 76; Interest in participating in the program: 193; No interest: 36; Level of satisfaction: >90% reporting good or very good.
Conclusions Based on results to date, after the 20 sessions the team expects to collect 763 surveys and identify 190 potential smart patients and 483 people willing to participate in the program. There is a clear interest or concern for OA disease in elderly people and they want to take more responsibility for their disease and age with quality of life.
Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 Collaborators, The lancet, June 8, 2015.
Osteoarthritis - An Overview, Frost & Sullivan, May 17th 2007.
EPISER STUDY 2001, Spanish Rheumatology Society.
Disclosure of Interest None declared