Physical therapist-led exercise in patients in ICU improves function and decreases hospital stay

May 10, 2010

Patients who are critically ill and participate in mild exercise programs led by physical therapists achieve higher functional mobility and spend fewer days in intensive care units (ICU) and hospitals than those who receive less exercise, according to a report published in the April issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

In a quality improvement project implemented in a medical at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a multidisciplinary health care team focused on reducing the use of prescription to reduce patient drowsiness and increase patients' ability to more frequently. The project included 57 patients who were on a mechanical ventilator for 4 or more days. The team found that this quality improvement process resulted in lower median daily doses of sedatives, improved patient alertness, and reduced delirium. These factors contributed to a greater number of rehabilitation treatments per patient with a higher level of functional mobility in the ICU, and a decrease in ICU and hospital length of stay by 2.1 and 3.1 days, respectively.

"Historically, patients in ICUs have been heavily sedated and immobile, which contributes to neuromuscular weakness that can, in turn, lead to physical impairments and decreased quality of life," said Jennifer Zanni, PT, MSPT, a co-author of the report. "The results of our quality improvement project show that rehabilitation of patients who are critically ill is safe and effective in improving mobility and returning patients to their homes sooner."

The rehabilitation-based exercise sessions typically lasted 30-45 minutes and consisted of arm and leg movements while lying in bed, sitting, or standing, or walking slowly in the ICU hallways.

"This report underscores the integral role that physical therapists, who are experts in restoring and improving motion, play in speeding recovery time for patients in ICUs," said R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD, president of the American Physical Therapy Association. "We hope these results encourage other critical care experts to consider early mobilization in this patient population."

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Early mobilization of patients in ICU improves outcomes

May 18, 2009

Aside from the obvious and immediate health problems that patients undergoing mechanical ventilation face, those who recover often do so with profound loss of strength and mobility that can impair their daily functioning ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...