Call for better support for people with arthritis in residential aged care

Musculoskeletal conditions are negatively impacting the quality of life of older people living in residential aged care facilities, Australian research shows.

A study of 490,325 people in the Registry of Senior Australians admitted to residential aged care between 2004 and 2014 found 40.2% of residents had a musculoskeletal condition, with arthritis accounting for 90% of those.

The study also showed the prevalence of musculoskeletal or arthritis conditions increased between 2004 and 2014.

“Activity limitations most strongly associated with having a musculoskeletal condition were those related to domestic tasks (OR 1.44; 95% CI 1.39- 1.49), home maintenance (OR 1.12; 95% CI 1.10-1.13), transport (OR 1.10; 95% CI 1.07-1.13) and social activities (OR 1.16; 95% CI 1.14-1.19).”

The study, published in the Australasian Journal on Ageing, said obesity (OR 1.95; 95% CI 1.81-2.09), pain (OR 1.78; 95%CI 1.74-1.81) and depression (OR 1.20; 95% CI 1.18-1.22) were all statistically significantly associated with the presence of a musculoskeletal condition.

However other comorbid conditions of cancer, dementia and stroke were not associated with the presence of a musculoskeletal condition.

Musculoskeletal conditions were not associated with a higher risk of mortality.

The South Australian study said given people with musculoskeletal conditions were likely to live longer in residential aged care, there was potentially an increasing burden on the aged care system.

For example, “Improved management within residential aged care facilities, in terms of addressing nutrition issues and providing appropriate pain relief, should be considered to improve the quality of life of residents.”

“The model of care delivery in residential aged care will also be challenged, particularly in terms of input from allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, which is currently limited in aged care settings.”

“Conversely, it also highlights the significant impact of musculoskeletal conditions on morbidity and, more specifically, an inability to undertake activities of daily living.”

The investigators concluded that more effective support or management in residential aged care to address musculoskeletal disorders may improve social activity, independence and mobility, and residents’ quality of life.


Already a member?

Login to keep reading.

Email me a login link

© 2023 the limbic