The newly released OACareTools materials make it easier for healthcare providers to support their patients with osteoarthritis, by providing tools and resources to encourage engagement in self-management strategies and shared decision-making opportunities.
Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, is a serious disease affecting 1 in 7 U.S. adults. OA can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling, which may limit mobility and function and interfere with daily activities and work tasks such as writing or typing, standing or sitting for long periods, bending and walking, or going up and down stairs.
The personal and economic burden of OA is significant, and the effects are felt by individuals with OA, their families, employers, and communities. The good news is that there are strategies to help prevent and manage OA.
The Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA) is a coalition of organizations managed through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Thurston Arthritis Research Center with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The OAAA collaborated with Pfizer to update and expand OACareTools, an online toolkit that aims to reduce the burden of this painful and costly disease. OACareTools contains 21 NEW tools and resources customized for three primary groups:
- Healthcare providers in primary care, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, physical/occupational therapists, sports medicine professionals, athletic trainers, and fitness professionals.
- Employer representatives such as business leaders, benefits/wellness consultants, human resource representatives, and occupational health providers.
- Individuals and employees with osteoarthritis.
Healthcare providers can help reduce the burden of OA by expanding their knowledge of OA and its management, using functional assessments in their practice, sharing resources with their patients, and promoting injury prevention. OACareTools contains nine self-paced educational modules to expand providers’ knowledge of OA and help them support adults with osteoarthritis in self-management strategies. OACareTools also includes customized multi-modal tools and resources, such as:
- Guidelines for managing OA – Provides a summary of the latest clinical guidelines, at a glance.
- Functional assessments – These resources discuss a variety of functional assessments used in OA care and offer tips for implementing these assessments into routine care.
- Exercise Rx for Arthritis – Helps providers guide their patients to find the type, frequency, and intensity of physical activity that best meets their personal needs and situation.
Healthcare providers can visit www.oacaretools.org for a complete listing and description of resources. In addition, oaaction.unc.edu/oacaretools/oacaretools-healthcare-providers lists resources that providers can make available to their patients. A few examples of patient resources include:
- Dealing with OA or Joint Pain? – Resources and programs available to help patients understand strategies for help managing OA, including physical activity, weight loss, self-care and social support.
- Evidence-based programs – Physical activity and self-management education programs for patients with OA that may be available in your community.
- Getting started with physical activity – A worksheet with recommendations and guidance to help patients work with their healthcare provider to develop their own physical activity plans.
About the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA)
The Osteoarthritis Action Alliance is a national public health coalition, comprised of more than 140 member organizations, that aims to reduce the burden of OA in the U.S. through dissemination of educational tools, resources, and health messaging to increase awareness for OA and to promote evidence-based prevention and management strategies. Injury prevention (e.g., sports injury prevention, falls prevention, etc.), weight management, physical activity, and self-management education are proven strategies for the prevention and management of OA and are major areas of focus of the OAAA. To learn more about the OAAA and how you can “Stand Up 2 OA,” visit oaaction.unc.edu.