Objectives: To study the perceptions and behavioural changes related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and determine their associations with patient characteristics, such as health literacy. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from September to November of 2020 and included 400 outpatients with RA aged 18 and above. We measured self-reported perceptions as outcomes, such as awareness, knowledge and behaviours related to COVID-19. Health literacy and other characteristics as exposures were investigated using self-report questionnaires and electronic health records. To analyse the association between patient factors and the outcomes, multivariable linear and logistic regression models were performed. Results: In total, 365 patients completed the survey. More than half (51%) of patients reported that they were ‘very worried’ about possible infection with COVID-19, whereas over 80% believed the possibility of getting COVID-19 was low. In the multivariable analyses, patients with low health literacy had limited knowledge about COVID-19 and did not change daily routines and perform preventive measures. Conclusions: In this pandemic, healthcare providers may need to be aware of more vulnerable individuals and share COVID-19 related information promptly and effectively with their patients.Key Points• This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the perceptions and behavioural changes related to COVID-19 in patients with RA.• All patients were aware of COVID-19 and most of them worried about getting infected.• Health literacy, age, sex, disease activity and rheumatic drugs were associated with perceptions and behaviours related to COVID-19.
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