Perceptions and experiences of health professionals Regarding conservative management of osteoarthritis at a tertiary hospital in Nigeria
Obinwakeze, Chidimma Oluchukwu
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Osteoarthritis (OA) is the major cause of pain and disability in the elderly, as well as people younger than the age of 45. Research reported the importance of conservative management of OA in the early stages, as it has proved to be effective in slowing down the progression of the disease, as well as reducing the secondary effects of decreased functional ability and disability. Early referral could assist with effective pain management, decrease in disease progression and increase in functional ability and quality of life. Therefore, the overall aim of the study was to establish a profile of patients with OA, as well as to explore the perceptions and experiences of health professionals regarding the conservative management of OA at a tertiary hospital in Nigeria. The study employed a sequential exploratory mixed method approach, using a retrospective and exploratory study design for the quantitative and qualitative phases respectively. Data was collected from one hundred and thirty-five medical records of patients with OA, meeting the inclusion criteria of the study, and admitted at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) from 1 January 2012 to 31 December 2016. The patient sample was predominantly female (n=80; 93%), with a mean age of 51.85 years old (SD=13.73). Thirteen (13) health professionals, eight (8) physiotherapists and five (5) orthopedic surgeons participated in the interviews. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 24 was used to analyse quantitative data. Inferential and descriptive statistics were used to describe the results in terms of frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviation. Alpha level was set at 5%. Audio-taped qualitative data was transcribed verbatim, and analysed using categories and themes. Permission to conduct the study was obtained from the University of the Western Cape Biomedical Research Ethics Committee (BMREC).