During the last 12 months, have you experienced any of the following….
This introductory sentence sets time frame for the symptomatic questions related to arthritis. After setting the time frame, the interviewer must read out a series of symptoms and determine if the respondent had any of those symptoms in the last 12 months. The point of asking symptom-related questions is to screen those individuals who might have a specific health condition or disease. Because there could be a number of symptoms that characterise a given health condition, and because some symptoms may be common to different conditions, it is important that the interviewer probe for each symptom to see whether the respondent may have an active disease. It is also important that the time
period for the symptoms (“in the last 12 months”) be clearly understood by the respondent and not confused with other time frames used in this section (such as "ever" and "the last 2 weeks"), otherwise the results may not be comparable and it will be difficult to properly assess how well the health system is responding to people’s needs.
The following symptom questions focus on the most frequent form of arthritis, which is osteoarthritis. This condition is often referred to as "wear and tear" on the bones (most often felt in the knees, hands, hips and spine).