Painaustralia provided advice on the development of the National Osteoarthritis Strategy. The document identified seven key priority areas and has been endorsed by Arthritis Australia, the Australian Rheumatology Association, the Australian Orthopaedic Association and the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians.
Painaustralia noted that osteoarthritis is a leading cause of early retirement: half of those with osteoarthritis aged between 45 and 64 years are currently not in the workforce, twice as many as those without the condition.
We advised the Strategy include prioritising better support, so those with osteoarthritis are better able to participate in work, education and the community. Pain is often a hallmark of musculoskeletal conditions and osteoarthritis and is often the trigger for early retirement.
The high frequency of people with chronic pain conditions, including osteoarthritis, also battling mental health conditions was highlighted. Painaustralia supported the use of psychological interventions like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in building pain coping skills for people with osteoarthritis.
We recommended more access to multidisciplinary care and the coordination of treatment, as studies show this provides the most improvement in pain reduction, as well as a better quality of life and ability to work.
Painaustralia also participated in the Osteoarthritis Summit where the National Strategy was launched to improve osteoarthritis care. Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of pain and disability with over 2.2 million people impacted in Australia. The National Osteoarthritis Strategy was initiated by the University of Sydney and Medibank Better Health Foundation.
Painaustralia is also providing input to the National Strategic Action Plan for Arthritis.