The Impact of Musculoskeletal Conditions on Assessed Levels of Care Required by Older Australians

Main Article Content

Tiffany K Gill
Steve Wesselingh
Maria C Inacio


Musculoskeletal problems, including conditions such as back pain, neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and osteoarthritis are common in the population and significant contributors to global disease burden. Age is one of the most common risk factors for musculoskeletal conditions and over 40% of older people accessing residential aged care have a musculoskeletal condition. It is not known whether individuals living in the community with musculoskeletal conditions have similar needs to those in permanent care and this is important to know in order to provide appropriate care.

Objectives and Approach
The objective of this study was to profile individuals with musculoskeletal conditions in different aged care service settings (i.e. permanent care, community care only, transition/ respite care, or no services). Specifically, we examined the concurrent chronic conditions, health risk factors and functional limitations of individuals by service setting. A cross-sectional evaluation of individuals in the National Historical Cohort of the Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) between 2004 and 2014 was conducted. Multivariable logistic regression models estimated the factors associated with being in different aged care settings. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were determined.

401,026 (42.5%) individuals with musculoskeletal conditions were assessed for aged care service eligibility during the study period. Of these 197,181 (49.2%) accessed permanent care, 37,003 (9.2%) accessed home care, 54,826 (13.7%) transition/respite, and 112,016 (27.9%) - no care. Individuals accessing community care compared to residential care were more likely to be female, have pain and have difficulty maintaining their home, as were individuals accessing no services compared to residential care.

Conclusion / Implications
Compared to those in residential care, individuals with musculoskeletal conditions in the community with or without assistance had few differences related to other chronic conditions and functional limitations. But the reasons why some had support, while others did not, are unclear.

Article Details

How to Cite
Gill, T. K., Wesselingh, S. and Inacio, M. C. (2020) “The Impact of Musculoskeletal Conditions on Assessed Levels of Care Required by Older Australians”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 5(5). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v5i5.1615.

Most read articles by the same author(s)