Personal perspectives on enablers and barriers to accessing care for hip and knee osteoarthritis

Ilana N. Ackerman, Jenni A. Livingston, Richard H. Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. Despite increasing demand for joint replacement surgery and other health services for hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA), barriers and enablers to individual access to care are not well understood. A comprehensive understanding of drivers at all levels is needed to inform efforts for improving access. Objective. The aim of this study was to explore perceived barriers and enablers to receiving conservative (nonsurgical) and surgical treatment for hip and knee OA. Design. This was a qualitative study using directed content analysis. Methods. Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted, with 33 participants randomly sampled from an Australian population-based survey of hip and knee OA. Each interview covered factors contributing to receiving treatment for OA and perceived barriers to accessing care. Interview transcripts were coded and organized into themes. Results. Key barriers to accessing care for OA included medical opinions about saving surgery for later and the appropriate age for joint replacement. Other common barriers included difficulty obtaining referrals or appointments, long waiting times, work-related issues, and limited availability of primary and specialist care in some areas. Several participants perceived a lack of effective treatment for OA. Private health insurance was the most frequently cited enabler and was perceived to support the costs of surgical and conservative treatments, including physical therapy, while facilitating faster access to surgery. Close proximity to services and assistance from medical professionals in arranging care also were considered enablers. Conclusions. People with hip or knee OA experience substantial challenges in accessing treatment, and these challenges relate predominantly to health professionals, health systems, and financial factors. Private health insurance was the strongest perceived enabler to accessing care for OA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Therapy
Volume96
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

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