Despite the general belief that mobility and exercise play an important role in the recovery of functional status, mobility is difficult to implement in patients in intensive care units.
To compare a mobility platform with standard equipment, assessing efficiency (decreased time and staff required to prepare patient), effectiveness (increased activity time), and safety (no falls, unplanned tube removals, or emergency situations) for intensive care patients.
This observational study was approved by the institutional review board, and informed consent was obtained from the patient or the medical decision maker. Intensive care patients were assigned to a room in the usual manner, with platforms in odd-numbered rooms and standard equipment in even-numbered rooms. Standardized data collection tools were designed to collect data for 24 hours for each patient. The nurses caring for the patients completed the data collection tools in real time during the activity. The stages of activity and the physiological states that would preclude mobility were very specifically defined for the research study.
Data were collected for a total of 71 patients and 238 activities. Important (although not significant) descriptive statistics regarding early mobility in the intensive care unit were discovered. The unintended result of the research study was a change in the culture and practice regarding early mobility in the intensive care unit.
Early mobility can be implemented in intensive care units. Standard equipment can be used to mobilize such patients safely; however, for patients who ambulate, a platform may increase efficiency and effectiveness.