Background Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that affect multiple small and large joints.1It can be a disabling and painful condition and leads to substantial loss of functioning and mobility. RA is predominantly a disease of women with F:M ratio 2-3:1.1 A simple task of self dressing becomes a big struggle for all the women across globe with the disease. There have been work done in west to reduce the struggle of these self dressers,2 but no such work has been done for Indian women. Indian dressing is very different from the western counterparts and their troubles go unaddressed. This research was undertaken to provide solutions to the self dressing Indian women suffering from RA.
Objectives Primary: To design adaptive garments for women suffering from arthritis. Secondary: To understand the challenges of the self dressers. To identify the movement restriction and limitation while self dressing. To understand the garment needs of the patients.
Methods The methodology was in 4 stages. 1) Determine functional limitations of joints in patients with RA through an interview of occupational therapists. 2) Undertake a survey of patients to understand the pertinent areas of difficulty in dressing with Indian garments and their garment preferences. 3) Designing and prototyping of garments as per the analysis of the survey undertaken in stage 2. 4) Undertake a survey of patients to determine acceptability of the designed garments in stage 3.
Results Forty female RA patients of average age 52yrs, and mean disease duration of 11.65 years were included. RA adversely affects the daily life activities of 83% patients whereas 75% face problems in self dressing and may need assistance. Patient preferred garments that provided ease in self dressing, and set of modifications among commonly used Indian clothing providing easy access to the closures. The styles should not change the look of the garment keeping the comfort into consideration. The common features and pattern alterations incorporated in garments to aid dressers were to make silhouettes loose with round necks having front opening with big buttons for upper garments. For lower garments, loose silhouettes, crotch point was dropped and length maintained till ankle level. Apart from this innovative trims were designed and were strategically placed in garment for easy manipulation. Tactical solutions were provided for the drawstring problem of lower garments and for pleating of saree phallus and front pleats. The designed features were found to be acceptable to the patients.
Conclusions A large proportion of Indian women with rheumatoid arthritis who have deformities have significant difficulty in everyday dressing. The designed garments provided social dignity as well as easy donning and doffing to the patients.
Hochberg MC, Silman AJ, Smolen JS, Weinblatt ME, Weisman MH. Rheumatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier; 2010, p.824-9.
Carroll KE, Kinkade DH, Inclusive Design in Apparel Product Development for Working Women With Physical Disabilities, Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal 2007;35:289-315.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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