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WMJ. 1999 Dec;98(8):40-3.

Gender differences in hallway ambulation by older adults hospitalized for medical illness.

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Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, USA.


Bed rest during hospitalization predisposes patients to declines in balance, strength, and bone mass, and may contribute to falls and fractures after discharge. Periodic ambulation may help prevent these adverse consequences. However it is unknown to what extent men and women ambulate during hospitalization. We observed hallway ambulation by adults age 55 and over hospitalized on 3 medical units of the University of Wisconsin Hospital. Hallways were observed during 24 three-hour periods covering the interval from 8 AM to 8 PM. Prior to each 3-hour observation, nursing staff were asked about characteristics of older patients who were able to ambulate in the hallways. Results showed that women spent significantly less time ambulating compared to men (1.6 versus 4.2 minutes per 3-hour period, p = .047), and were less likely to walk independent of hospital staff (10.4% versus 23.5%, p = .049). If these findings of gender differences in mobility are validated in other studies, they imply that in-hospital rehabilitation programs may need to particularly target women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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