THE Grampians region has a very high incidence of osteoarthritis (7th nationally). Grampians Medicare Local (GML) is working with clinics, GPs and Primary Care Nurses on a demonstration project to improve the care of arthritis sufferers. Patients access a dedicated nurse-run clinic.
The nurses work with GPs to develop an individually tailored management plan and connect patients to a range of other health professionals and resources. Medicare Local gratefully acknowledges the financial and other support from Australian Government Department of Health Grampians Medicare Local Ltd ABN 80 156 634 749 So far GML has recruited over 100 arthritis sufferers to take part in the project.
Osteoarthritis is rarely managed as a specific disease until symptoms are so bad they require surgical intervention. Increasing pain and stiffness can lead to a decrease in activity and increase the risk of other chronic diseases. Project Manager, Ms Jessica Danko explains how nurses can improve patient care. “This demonstration project will make a real difference.
Primary care nurses are in a great position to provide care coordination for people with osteoarthritis because they already use a similar model to manage other chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma.” Osteoarthritis causes joint pain and stiffness and is the most common type of arthritis. It affects almost 2 million Australians. Arthritis Awareness Week began March 15 2015.