IS MEASURING GRIP STRENGTH ACCEPTABLE TO OLDER PEOPLE? THE SOUTHAMPTON GRIP STRENGTH STUDY
H.C. Roberts, J. Sparkes, H. Syddall, J. Butchart, J. Ritchie, C. Cooper, A.A. Sayer
J Aging Res Clin Practice 2012;1(2):135-140
Objectives: To evaluate the acceptability of grip strength measurement among older people in different healthcare settings. Design: A cross-sectional study with quantitative and qualitative data collection. Setting: Four healthcare settings in one town in southern England. Participants: 101 community hospital rehabilitation inpatients, 47 community physiotherapy referrals, 57 patients attending a Parkinson’s clinic at the hospital and 100 residents in care homes. Measurements: Grip strength, Barthel score, Mini Mental State Examination and outline questions on the grip measurement process were assessed on all participants. In-depth semi-structured interviews ascertained the views of a sub-sample of 20 participants on grip strength measurement. Results: The instructions were easily understood, most participants did not find the measurement painful or tiring, and almost all were prepared to repeat the assessment. Participants felt that this could be a useful and acceptable routine assessment, which some thought could be an opportunity to improve their health, while others were uncertain whether it would be helpful to be told that they were becoming weaker. Participants were generally accepting of medical assessments and felt that grip measurement was easy, unless there was a problem with an individual’s hand. Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate that grip strength measurement is acceptable to older people undergoing rehabilitation, living with a chronic neurological condition or resident in care homes. The high level of acceptability found among older people in different healthcare settings in this study supports the use of grip strength measurement in routine clinical practice.