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J Gerontol Nurs. 1991 Sep;17(9):5-11.

Iatrogenesis in the elderly. Factors of immobility.


Mobility of elderly patients is a consequence of the interaction between factors including biological health, sensory-perceptual capacity, motor skills, cognitive capacity, and ego-strength; and environmental resources including physical and architectural features, medical regimens, institutional policies, resident and staff characteristics, and social support availability. Impaired mobility, whether self- or other-imposed, places the elderly at risk for a multitude of negative physiological and psychological consequences that can affect health, well-being, and quality of life. Understanding the basic mechanisms underlying the physiological and psychological consequences of immobility, the relative time-frame in which they can develop, and the concomitant changes associated with aging provides the basis for interventions aimed at preventing or minimizing them. A multitude of factors that influence the elderly's state of mobility are within nursing's realm of practice. Although elderly patients may present a special challenge, the negative consequences of immobility can be avoided, to a significant extent, with astute and vigilant nursing management.

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