Mobilization is safe and associated with improved outcomes in critically ill adults, but little is known about mobilization of critically ill children.


To implement a standardized mobilization therapy protocol in a pediatric intensive care unit and improve mobilization of patients.


A goal-directed mobilization protocol was instituted as a quality improvement project in a 20-bed cardiac and medical-surgical pediatric intensive care unit within an academic tertiary care center. The mobilization goal was based on age and severity of illness. Data on severity of illness, ordered activity limitations, baseline functioning, mobilization level, complications of mobilization, and mobilization barriers were collected. Goal mobilization was defined as a ratio of mobilization level to severity of illness of 1 or greater.


In 9 months, 567 patient encounters were analyzed, 294 (52%) of which achieved goal mobilization. The mean ratio of mobilization level to severity of illness improved slightly but nonsignificantly. Encounters that met mobilization goals were in younger (P = .04) and more ill (P < .001) patients and were less likely to have barriers (P < .001) than encounters not meeting the goals. Complication rate was 2.5%, with no difference between groups (P = .18). No serious adverse events occurred.


A multidisciplinary, multiprofessional, goal-directed mobilization protocol achieved goal mobilization in more than 50% of patients in this pediatric intensive care unit. Undermobilized patients were older, less ill, and more likely to have mobilization barriers at the patient and provider level.

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