Objective: To identify activity limitation in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to detect patients needing assistive devices. To evaluate the effects of assistive devices.
Methods: A multicenter cohort of 284 early RA patients was examined using the Evaluation of Daily Activity Questionnaire 12 and 24 months after diagnosis.
Results: The extent of activity limitation was stable over time for both women and men. Most limitations concerned eating and drinking. Women reported more difficulties than did men. The use of assistive devices was related to subgroups with severe disease and more disability. Use of assistive devices reduced difficulties significantly. For both women and men, assistive devices were mostly used in activities related to eating and drinking.
Conclusion: Already 1 year after diagnosis, RA patients reported activity limitation that remained stable over time. Use of assistive devices was related to more severe disease and more pronounced disability. Use of devices reduced difficulties significantly.