Beyond bedrest: maintaining mobility during hospital stays

June 10, 2019

“Older people who are very frail are already so low on muscle mass that a long period of almost-complete inactivity can easily tip them over the edge into a really bad situation,” says Dr. Olga Theou, a frailty researcher at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “So after a prolonged stay in hospital, the person might be over the pneumonia, but now they can’t walk.”

Dr. Theou is exploring how hospital staff can best help individuals who are frail get out of bed and moving their bodies during inpatient stays, to promote recovery and prevent backsliding into deeper disability. She and co-principal investigator, geriatrician and researcher Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, have received funding from the Canadian Frailty Network to test a “mobility intervention” in a geriatric acute care unit at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.

In their new CFN-funded study, called the Breaking “Bad Rest” Study: Interrupting sedentary time to reverse frailty levels in acute care, Drs. Theou and Rockwood are laying the groundwork for a massive shift in hospital culture to promote mobility over bedrest.

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