Executive summary: Arthritis Australia commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at UNSW Australia to carry out research on the lived experience of people with arthritis related conditions. This report outlines the methods, findings and implications of the research.
Arthritis is the second leading cause of disability and the most common cause of chronic pain in Australia; it is the most prevalent long-term health condition, affecting 3 million people or about 15 per cent of the population. Studies are available on the health costs and loss of productivity associated with arthritis, but not as much is understood about the extent to which arthritis is associated with disability–who is affected, how people are affected, what helps people cope with their condition day to day, and how support services can be improved. Improving understanding of the disability impact of arthritis is particularly important given the transition in Australia to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the impact this may have on service availability and delivery.