Sociodemographic Inequalities in Outcomes of a Swedish Nationwide Self-Management Program for Osteoarthritis: Results from 22,741 Patients between Years 2008-2017

J Clin Med. 2020 Jul 19;9(7):2294. doi: 10.3390/jcm9072294.


The aim of this study is to investigate if there are educational level and birthplace related differences in joint-related pain, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), willingness to undergo joint surgery, walking difficulties, physical activity level, fear-avoidance behavior before, as well as three and 12 months after participation in a structured self-management program for hip and knee osteoarthritis. Differences in adherence to and use of knowledge from the program were also investigated. An observational national register-based study was performed with a prospective longitudinal design using patient and physiotherapist-reported data on 22,741 complete cases from the National Quality Register for better management of patients with osteoarthritis (BOA) during years 2008-2017. At baseline and after three and 12 months follow-up, higher educational level and being domestic-born was associated with less joint-related pain, better HRQoL, lower willingness to undergo joint surgery, fewer walking difficulties, higher physical activity level, and less fear-avoidance behavior. Foreign born individuals demonstrated higher adherence to exercise and reported better use of the self-management program. The BOA self-management program may require further pedagogical refinement to suit participants of different sociodemographic backgrounds and health literacy. A more patient-centered delivery, sensitive to educational, ethnic, and cultural differences may potentially reduce inequalities in future outcomes.

Keywords: osteoarthritis; outcomes; rehabilitation; self-management program; sociodemographic.