WEDNESDAY, July 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Having a mobility plan can prevent the functional decline associated with lack of mobility among hospitalized patients, according to a study published online July 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Noting that bedrest leads to functional decline in hospitalized patients, S. Ryan Greysen, M.D., and Mitesh S. Patel, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, discuss how hospitalists can promote patient mobility in the hospital.

The authors note that even a limited number of steps during hospitalization can make a difference between functional decline and preserved independence during hospitalization, with a threshold effect of about 1,000 steps to prevent harm. Hospitalists should assess baseline mobility of all patients at admission and ask patients about their current level of functional independence and mobility. At the time of admission, hospitalists should formulate a mobility plan for each patient; the plan should outline daily goals for time out of bed and walking. As part of the daily rounds, the mobility plan should be discussed with the bedside nurse and patient.

“Our clinical experience leads us to believe that the existence of a thoughtful plan to address functional status and mobility during and after hospitalization could help reduce the number of discharges to skilled nursing facilities, enhance patient engagement and experience, and perhaps even influence post-discharge outcomes of care,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the health care industry.

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