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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 1994;19 Suppl 1:39-44.

Bed rest in a sydney teaching hospital.


This paper looks at two surveys of bed rest, conducted in a general hospital. The first survey, conducted early one afternoon, assessed the prevalence of bed rest within the hospital. It was found that most of the patients (67%) were in bed, and nearly half of those (42%) were in bed for reasons other than being too sick or unsafe to be up, or because bed rest was part of their treatment. A second survey, in which a sample of general hospital patients was repeatedly observed throughout the day, found that patients with no requirements for bed rest spent 63% (95% confidence limits: 51-75%) of the active part of the day in bed. It may be that because of the nature of hospital design, many patients are unnecessarily confined to bed because there is simply nowhere else to go. Inappropriate use of bed rest has implications for patient health and the utilization of scarce hospital resources.


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