Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease, considered to be one of the major public health problems. Research suggests that patient education is feasible and valuable for achieving improvements in quality of life, in function, well-being and improved coping. Since 1994, Primary Health Care in Malmö has used a patient education programme directed towards OA. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of this education programme for patients with OA in primary health care in terms of self-efficacy, function and self-perceived health.
Method: The study was a single-blind, randomized controlled trial (RCT) in which the EuroQol-5D and Arthritis self-efficacy scale were used to measure self-perceived health and self-efficacy and function was measured with Grip Ability Test for the upper extremity and five different functional tests for the lower extremity.
Results: We found differences between the intervention group and the control group, comparing the results at baseline and after 6 months in EuroQol-5D (p < 0.001) and in standing one leg eyes closed (p = 0.02) in favour of the intervention group. No other differences between the groups were found.
Conclusion: This study has shown that patient education for patients with osteoarthritis is feasible in a primary health care setting and can improve self-perceived health as well as function in some degree, but not self-efficacy. Further research to investigate the effect of exercise performance on function, as well as self-efficacy is warranted.
Trial registration: The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov.
Registration number: NCT00979914.