Patient Care

Enhancing Mobility Reduces Length of Stay


Clinical question: Can a nurse-driven early ambulation program aimed at all hospitalized adults increase patient mobility and decrease length of stay?

Background: Many adults experience decline of functional abilities during their hospitalization. Interventions to increase early mobilization of patients in the ICU have been associated with decreased length of stay, decreased costs, and improved patient satisfaction. Previous studies of interventions in non-ICU patients have used specialized staff or have targeted select patient populations.

Study design: Before-after cohort study.

Setting: Patients admitted to two general medical units at a single large academic hospital.

Synopsis: The authors implemented a 12-month multidisciplinary quality improvement project in 3,352 patients, with the goal of mobilizing patients three times per day. Additional goals included consistently documenting daily mobility, setting daily goals to increase activity, and standardizing the description of mobility across disciplines. Ambulation, documentation, and goal setting were assigned to regular nursing staff and targeted at each of the patients admitted to these units during the study period. Highest level of mobility was documented using a locally derived simple eight-point ordinal scale. Daily documentation rate of mobility averaged 85% over the 12 months of the project. Comparing the four-month study period at the beginning of the project implementation to the four-month period after implementation, more patients ambulated (70% versus 43%), patients with improved mobility scores increased from 32% to 45%, and length of stay declined by 0.40 days. All of these differences were statistically significant. There was no increase in falls with injury.

Bottom line: A nurse-driven early mobility program aimed at all patients admitted to general medical services may improve mobility and decrease length of stay.

Citation: Hoyer EH, Friedman M, Lavezza A, et al. Promoting mobility and reducing length of stay in hospitalized general medicine patients: a quality-improvement project [published online ahead of print February 5, 2016]. J Hosp Med. doi:10.1002/jhm.2546.

Short Take

Prednisolone is Equivalent to NSAIDs in the Treatment of Acute Gout

In a multicenter, double-blind, randomized equivalence trial of 416 patients presenting to the emergency department with symptoms of acute gout, treatment with prednisolone was equivalent to indomethacin for pain treatment without any difference in adverse events.

Citation: Rainer TH, Cheng CH, Janssens HJEM, et al. Oral prednisolone in the treatment of acute gout: a pragmatic, multicenter, double-blind, randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2016;164(7):464-471. doi:10.7326/M14-2070.

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