ICU nurses are often the first to see immobility-related changes in a patient’s condition such as:
Nurses can also improve patient outcomes by initiating early mobility, which can reduce patient time on a ventilator and length of ICU stay.1,([FOOTNOTE=Morris PE, Goad A, Thompson C, et al. Early intensive care unit mobility therapy in the treatment of acute respiratory failure. Crit Care Med. 2008;36(8):2238–2243. doi: 10.1097/CCM.Ob013e318180b90e.],[ANCHOR=],[LINK=])
Dr. Wischmeyer of Duke University gives an overview of the challenges associated with early mobility, and the importance of implementing protocols.
Clinicians and ICU administrators can manage the demands of early mobility. Tools for patient assessment, data collection and analysis, and team communications can help.
ICU nurses have several tools at their fingertips to help ensure patient safety. Using standard neurological and physical assessments, they can:
A lack of human resources represents a major barrier to early mobility programs.2 Certified nursing assistants can fill that gap by:
In addition to speaking up for their patients, nurses play a vital role in changing ICU practice and culture. Through their advocacy, they can help overcome many of the barriers that prevent early mobility, including lack of time, resources, and education.