Attention to Patients’ Mobility: Low-Tech But Essential

A critical care nurse led a multidisciplinary team to explore the effects of a dedicated ‘mobility team’ on functional and other outcomes in ICU patients.

By Betsy Todd, MPH, RN, CIC, AJN clinical editor

julie kertesz/ via flickr creative common julie kertesz/ via flickr creative common

It’s long been known that immobility leads to deconditioning. Various studies indicate that muscle strength drops by 3% to 11% with each day of bed rest. As most of us have witnessed firsthand in both patients and family members, it can take months to regain pre–bed rest levels of functioning. For some people, the strength and mobility needed for independence never return.

In this month’s issue, a community hospital critical care nurse led a multidisciplinary team to explore the effects of a dedicated “mobility team” on functional and other outcomes in ICU patients. In “Implementation of an Early Mobility Program in an ICU,” Danielle Fraser and colleagues share what they learned.

The mobility team consisted of a physical therapist, a critical care RN, and an ICU rehab aide. Respiratory therapists worked closely with the team. Patients assigned to the early mobility intervention could progress through four successive levels of movement, from passive range-of-motion exercises to full ambulation.

Compared with ICU patients who received routine care, the patients in the intervention group were more functionally independent at discharge. In addition, this early mobility group also had fewer falls, ventilator-associated events, pressure ulcers, and CAUTIs. They experienced fewer episodes of delirium and lower levels of sedation, and their hospitals costs were lower. And there was a 30% reduction in ICU readmissions! […]

Early Spring Web Roundup: Insomnia, Early Delivery, Persistence, Painkillers, Overtesting

We’ve been a little quiet here on the blog this week. Maybe it has to do with the opening of baseball season or signals a hangover from media coverage of the Supreme Court give-and-take about the Affordable Care Act last week and the endless guesses about how the court is likely to vote come June. Or maybe all our nurse bloggers are using spare time to clean out closets, sweep the cherry blossoms and sale inserts from the sidewalk, purge the inbox, box up the humidifier, watch Mad Men, or whatever. But here are a few things we’d like to draw your attention to:

If the windy spring nights wake you (or your patients) to the sound of a trash can lid flying away, maybe this will help: As described in the Drug Watch column in AJN‘s April issue, a sublingual form of the drug zolpidem (think Ambien) has now been approved, with the fancy name Intermezzo, for people who wake in the middle of the night and start hearing the same song over and over in their heads or thinking of the perfect comeback to that snippy waiter.

Also in the April issue, an AJN Reports looks at efforts to get people not to opt for potentially risky early delivery of their babies, and a Reflections essay called “Giving Up—Or Not” details one nurse’s patience and persistence in trying to get a patient to start wanting to live again after major surgery. Here’s an excerpt:

We encourage, beg, cajole, and nag him—to feed himself, to sit in the chair, to roll over. Healing is work, we tell him.

But his body has turned on itself as a substitute for food. His long series of complications has left him discouraged and depressed. If staying comfortable impedes his progress, he’s willing to live with the trade-off.

Sam opens his eyes when I walk into his room, then closes them again. While I assess him, I tell him the plans for the day.

He puts a finger over his trach. “Do I have to have a bath? I feel so tired.” His voice is soft and slightly rasping.

You might have noticed recent headlines about prescription painkiller abuse in the U.S. […]

April 6th, 2012|health care policy, nursing perspective|0 Comments