Early mobilization and safe handling of hospitalized patients are critical in reducing hospital-acquired complications.1,2 In addition to decreasing the possibility of adverse outcomes, these practices promote the overall well-being of patients while decreasing length of stay (LOS).3,4 The purpose of this article is to articulate an interdisciplinary approach that optimizes benefits of early mobilization.
East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH), a community-owned hospital licensed for 448 beds, is located in southeastern Louisiana. This full-service hospital is a significant contributor to the economic and social vitality of its community. The governance of this not-for-profit hospital is a 10-member volunteer Board of Directors appointed by the parish president and council. The Medical Staff operates as an open staff that includes nearly 900 physicians. The hospital employs more than 3,200 team members including 725 full-time registered nurses. It has maintained Magnet status since 2002; and was honored as the first Magnet hospital in the state.
The Mobility Team was formulated in February 2009 after Care Management identified areas for improvement in length of stay possibly related to decreased mobility. Decreased mobility increases patient risks for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), falls, pressure ulcers, and other medical issues.4Decreased mobility, particularly in the elderly and morbidly obese, contributes greatly to increased length of stay.3,5 Lack of physician activity orders further delays early mobilization. Untimely therapy consults also may lead to additional delays in the assessment and treatment of patients due to impaired mobility. In addition to the human toll, Medicare penalties for patients who experience adverse outcomes negatively impact health care financials.