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Phys Ther. 2012 Dec;92(12):1518-23. doi: 10.2522/ptj.20110446. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Physical therapy on the wards after early physical activity and mobility in the intensive care unit.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care, Intermountain Medical Center, 5121 S Cottonwood St, Murray, UT 84107, USA. mona.hopkins@imail.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Weakness and debilitation are common following critical illness. Studies that assess whether early physical activity initiated in the intensive care unit (ICU) continues after a patient is transferred to a ward are lacking.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to assess whether physical activity and mobility initiated during ICU treatment were maintained after patients were discharged from a single ICU to a ward.

DESIGN:

This was a cohort study.

METHODS:

Consecutive patients who were diagnosed with respiratory failure and admitted to the respiratory ICU (RICU) at LDS Hospital underwent early physical activity and mobility as part of usual care. Medical data, the number of requests for a physical therapy consultation or nursing assistance with ambulation at ICU discharge, and mobility data were collected during the first 2 full days on the ward.

RESULTS:

Of the 72 patients who participated in the study, 65 had either a physical therapy consultation or a request for nursing assistance with ambulation at ward transfer. Activity level decreased in 40 participants (55%) on the first full ward day. Of the 61 participants who ambulated 100 ft (30.48 m) or more on the last full RICU day, 14 did not ambulate, 22 ambulated less than 100 ft, and 25 ambulated 100 ft or more on the first ward day.

LIMITATIONS:

Limitations include lack of data regarding why activity was not performed on the ward, lack of longitudinal follow-up to assess effects of activity, and lack of generalizability to patients not transferred to a ward or not treated in an ICU with an early mobility program.

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite the majority of participants having a physical therapy consultation or a request for nursing assistance with ambulation at the time of transfer to the medical ward, physical activity levels decreased in over half of participants on the first full ward day. The data suggest a need for education of ward staff regarding ICU debilitation, enhanced communication among care providers, and focus on the importance of patient-centered outcomes during and following ICU treatment.

PMID:
22491481
DOI:
10.2522/ptj.20110446
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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