Patient immobility and a lack of physical activity in the intensive care unit results in a myriad of negative patient and hospital outcomes.
To report research findings related to the use of exercise physiologists in promoting and providing aggressive and progressive early mobilization within the intensive care unit.
This observational cohort study used the researcher-generated 12-point Activity Mobilization Evaluation Scale and delirium prevention bundle in 3 medical-surgical intensive care units to track patients’ progress with mobilization.
On average, most of the 216 patients in the study population realized a 1.6-point change (P < .001) in activity level with intervention by an exercise physiologist. Almost all of the study population (97%) maintained or increased the level of activity after receiving a minimum of 1 session with an exercise physiologist (mean, 3.5 sessions per day) during the 3-month study period.
The introduction of exercise physiologists in the intensive care units proved to be a novel, safe, and effective strategy that maintained or increased the activity level of 97% of study patients.