Persons with rheumatoid arthritis use assistive devices to enable them, in spite of impaired hand dexterity and grip strength, to manage Activities of Daily Living (ADL). The aim of the research was to lay the foundation for a list of essential assistive devices through determining which assistive devices for ADL were most often used and requested, investigating whether there was a correlation between grip strength and the number of assistive devices, duration of disease, degree of difficulty in performing ADL and by investigating whether there was a correlation between difficulty in ADL and number of assistive devices, duration of the disease. STUDY SAMPLE: Fifty five persons, 42 females and 13 males, seen at the Pretoria Academic Hospital's Arthritis Clinic were recruited. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A questionnaire was used to determine the level of difficulty with ADL. Details about assistive devices were recorded. The modified sphygmomanometer was used to measure grip strength. RESULTS: Assistive devices most in use were the tap turner and the dagger knife with built up handle. The highest correlation was found between grip strength and difficulty in ADL and between difficulty in ADL and the number of assistive devices used. It seems therefore that loss of grip strength is the main indicator for assistive devices.
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