Grip strength with post-operative and geriatric patients is an important consideration when it comes to safety. If a patient does not have functional grip strength, there is a much higher risk of dropping objects, driving accidents, and a general inability to negotiate doors in public spaces.
I will typically advise against driving if the patient does not have at least twenty (20) pounds of grip strength.
How do we test grip strength?
Most physical and occupational therapists will measure grip strength with a dynamometer.
As you can see from the photo, the patient grasps the instrument and squeezes as hard as possible. (Note that the dynamometer is adjustable to allow testing grip with different grip sizes.)
Image credit: Top © Tyler Olson – SimpleFoto/Fotolia