Osteoarthritis of the knee Clinical Care Standard

Knee osteoarthritis has a high burden on patients and the healthcare system.The Osteoarthritis of the Knee Clinical Care Standard provides guidance to clinicians and health services managers when treating knee osteoarthritis.

Disease overview

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that results in pain, varying degrees of functional limitation and reduced quality of life. About 2.1 million Australians are estimated to have osteoarthritis, making it the most common form of arthritis in Australia. Symptoms are relatively uncommon in people aged under 45, but more than 25% of people 65 or older report some joint symptoms.

Knee osteoarthritis has a high burden on patients and the healthcare system. It is a major contributor to disability and lost productivity, and is the main reason for knee replacement surgery.

Care options

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are many ways of slowing disease progression and there are treatments available to manage symptoms. Current guidelines recommend a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological management to treat osteoarthritis.

Despite current efforts, there are indications that there is variation in the type of care received, and not everyone with knee osteoarthritis receives appropriate treatment.

Osteoarthritis of the Knee Clinical Care Standard

The Osteoarthritis of the Knee Clinical Care Standard provides guidance to clinicians and health services managers:

Indicator specification

This resource provides a set of suggested indicators to assist with local implementation of the Osteoarthritis of the Knee Clinical Care Standard. Clinicians and health services can use the indicators to monitor implementation of the quality statements, and support improvements as needed.

The indicator specification is available at METeOR

Implementation resources

These resources can be used to promote and explain what the Osteoarthritis of the Knee Clinical Care Standard means to health services, clinicians, patients and their carers:

Why do we need this Clinical Care Standard?

These resources for clinicians and health services explain what each quality statement means, why it matters, and how use of the clinical care standard could improve patient outcomes:

Decision Support Tool on Osteoarthritis of the Knee

To support patients to be more informed about the treatment options for osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, the Commission has developed a decision support tool for patients. This tool is based on the treatment options in the Commission’s Osteoarthritis of the Knee Clinical Care Standard.

The decision support tool provides evidence-based information about the main treatment options for OA of the knee, including the risks, benefits and costs. It also includes questions that patients may wish to consider when thinking about what is most important to them to discuss with their doctor or health professional.

The decision support tools for patients page provides  more information on the Commission’s work in shared decision-making.