One in two people may develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) in their lifetime. Many OA sufferers have multiple symptoms, including pain, fatigue, and depressive symptoms. Determining whether symptom clusters exist among these older adults and what their effects are on outcomes such as quality of life (QOL) and functional status is essential to provide evidence-based geriatric healthcare.
The purposes of the secondary analyses were to explore symptoms that form clusters in older adults with OA of the knee and the effects of symptom clusters on their QOL and functional status.
A cross-sectional, methodological exploration of existing data from a convenience sample (N = 75) of adults aged 50 years and older with OA of the knee was used. Hierarchical and k-means cluster analyses were used to identify symptom clusters. MANOVA was performed to test for joint differences in QOL and functional status.
Two large clusters of pain, fatigue, and depressive symptoms were identified from the cluster, and significant relationships were found between symptom clusters and both QOL (p = .008) and functional status (p < .001). Conclusions about QOL or functional status differences were similar for alternative clustering strategies or numbers of symptom clusters in sensitivity analyses.
The findings of this study provide a foundation for targeted interventions to improve QOL and functional status of older adults with OA of the knee.
Jeanne B. Jenkins, PhD, MBA, RN, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Thomas P. McCoy, Visiting Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Department of Educational Research Methodology, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: Jeanne Jenkins received a grant from Sigma Theta Tau International/Southern Nursing Research Society to fund this research. Thomas P. McCoy has disclosed that he has no financial interests to any commercial company related to this educational activity.