People suffering from arthritis who participate in three weeks of intensive exercise therapy after being hospitalised for their disease enjoy a better quality of life a full year after the treatment than those who don't. And the exercise programme actually saves money compared to standard care.

Arthritis patients often experience a decline in function while in the hospital. Yet there is no standard treatment for these patients after hospital discharge for a disease flare-up or for joint replacement surgery.

Previous studies show that an intensive exercise-training programme consisting of two daily 75-minute training sessions along with a twice-weekly group education programme is helpful for patients.

Dutch researchers conducted the current study to compare the cost-effectiveness of the programme with standard care. Eighty-five patients, including 50 who participated in the exercise training programme and 35 who received standard care, were included in their analysis. It was found that costs for the exercise programme were $1,087 dollars (Rs. 43,358) lower per year than for standard care.

Most of the greater costs in the standard care group were due to patients who had been referred to nursing homes immediately after their hospitalisation. Moreover, patients in the standard care group who required a second joint replacement surgery also spent more time in the hospital, on average, than those who had the exercise-training programme.

The findings show that intensive exercise therapy should be offered to all patients with arthritis after being discharged from the hospital, especially patients with symptoms in multiple joints