Assessment and management of osteoarthritis in adults


We have reported previously that osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. It’s symptoms include pain, reduced function and effects on a person’s ability to carry out their activities of daily living. Pain is associated with changes in mood, sleep and coping abilities.

A new quality standard covering the assessment and management of osteoarthritis in adults aged 18 years and over has been recently published by The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK.

NICE quality standards describe high-priority areas for quality improvement in a defined care or service area. Each standard consists of a prioritised set of specific, concise and measurable statements. They draw on existing guidance, which provides an underpinning, comprehensive set of recommendations, and are designed to support the measurement of improvement.

This new quality standard does not cover the replacement of hip, knee or shoulder joints in adults with osteoarthritis, because this will be included in a future NICE guideline and quality standard.

The quality standard for osteoarthritis is made up of 8 statements that describe high‑quality care for adults with osteoarthritis. The quality statements are:

  • Statement 1. Adults aged 45 or over are diagnosed with osteoarthritis clinically without investigations if they have activity – related joint pain and any morning joint stiffness lasts no longer than 30 minutes.
  • Statement 2. Adults newly diagnosed with osteoarthritis have an assessment that includes pain, impact on daily activities and quality of life.
  • Statement 3. Adults with osteoarthritis participate in developing a self‑management plan that directs them to any support they may need.
  • Statement 4. Adults with osteoarthritis are advised to participate in muscle strengthening and aerobic exercise.
  • Statement 5. Adults with osteoarthritis who are overweight or obese are offered support to lose weight.
  • Statement 6. Adults with osteoarthritis discuss and agree the timing of their next review with their primary healthcare team.
  • Statement 7. Adults with osteoarthritis are supported with non‑surgical core treatments for at least 3 months before any referral for consideration of joint surgery.
  • Statement 8. Healthcare professionals do not use scoring tools to identify which adults with osteoarthritis are eligible for referral for consideration of joint surgery.

NICE quality standards help to improve key areas of health or social care so that people are offered the best care available.


The Muscuolskeletal Elf’s view

Because osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a leading cause of pain and disability worldwide the Muscuolskeletal Elf has published several blogs on recent evidence for people with osteoarthritis including;


  • NICE Quality Standard 2015 [QS87] Osteoarthritis [abstract]
  • NICE Clinical Guideline 2014 [CG177] Osteoarthritis [abstract]
Share on Facebook Tweet this on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+
Mark as read
Create a personal elf note about this blog
Profile photo of Tracey Howe

Tracey Howe

Hi I am Tracey Howe. I am a Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences at Glasgow Caledonian University, UK and Deputy Chair of Glasgow City of Science. I am also an editor for the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Review Group and a convenor for the Cochrane Health Care of Older People Field. I am a Trustee of the Picker Institute Europe. I started my career as a physiotherapist in the National Health Service in England. I have extensive experience of assessing the quality of research in Universities in the UK and internationally. I enjoy strategic visioning, creative problem-solving, and creating vibrant, multi-disciplinary environments, through collaboration, partnerships, and relationships, that empower others to succeed.

More posts - Website

Follow me here –