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Clinical guidelines for musculoskeletal diseases (OA, RA, JIA, OP)

The RACGP has developed national musculoskeletal clinical guidelines for general practitioners and other primary care health professionals for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and osteoporosis.

The four clinical guidelines have been developed to the requirements of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). A critical part of the guideline development process was a public consultation with the stakeholders on the draft documents that ended on 1 June 2008.

The project has been developed by Working Groups for each guideline. The Working Groups included GPs, rheumatologists, consumers, and allied health professionals. With funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, project officers and expert Working Group members identified and reviewed the best evidence for primary care and compiled the strength of the body of evidence for the Australian guidelines.

The osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and osteoporosis guidelines have passed the Independent Review and received final approval from the NHMRC. The guidelines can be downloaded below. Each clinical guideline includes:

  • algorithms (diagnosis and management) that are designed to be reference tools during consultations
  • graded recommendations that provide a summary and grading of the best available evidence.

Two additional documents provide support for each of the clinical guidelines and are intended to be read in conjunction with the guidelines:

  • full recommendations presenting the body of evidence and the grading for each component of the NHMRC matrix
  • a detailed literature review supporting the guideline that presents the body of literature published on the topic, the search strategy and the search results.

As part of the project, the RACGP also developed Referral for joint replacement: A management guide for health providers designed to assist GPs, allied health professionals and specialists in primary care referring patients for orthopaedic assessment. It supports decision making regarding joint replacement and delivery of best practice care while patients are waiting for surgery. In recognition of the varied systems in place nationally, the content and resources contained in this guide are not prescriptive but may be used to establish systems for referral or to support continued improvement of existing systems. The tools are designed to be incorporated into medical software and to integrate with system improvements taking place at a number of levels. The guide can be downloaded below.

For further information or queries please contact musculoskeletal@racgp.org.au

Acknowledgements

The RACGP would like the thank the Advisory Group for their contribution to the development of the algorithms.

Dr Dan Ewald (Chair) Northern Rivers General Practice Network, Lismore, NSW.

Dr John Litt, Discipline of General Practice, Flinders University, South Australia; Deputy Chairman, RACGP National Standing Committee for Quality Care

Dr Karen Aarons Brooke Street Medical Centre, Woodend, Victoria

Ms Kathy Godwin RN, Australian Practice Nurses Association

Ms Patrice Higgins (Consultant)

Referral for joint replacement: A management guide for health providers

This guide has been developed for general practitioners, allied health professionals in primary care, and specialists referring patients for orthopaedic assessment to assist in improving the care of people with arthritis by supporting decision making regarding joint replacement and supporting delivery of best practice care while patients are waiting for surgery.

In recognition of the varied systems in place nationally, the content and resources contained in this guide are not prescriptive but may be used to establish systems for referral or to support continued improvement of existing systems.

The tools are designed to be incorporated into medical software and to integrate with system improvements taking place at a number of levels.

Downloads

PDF

Referral for joint replacement (pdf 469KB)

Referral for joint replacement: A management guide for health providers

PDF

Prevention in the management of musculoskeletal conditions: A guide for practice nurses (pdf 7MB)

A resource for nurses employed in general practice to assist them in improving the care of people with osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and idiopathic juvenile arthritis.

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