Mobilization of intensive care patients: A multidisciplinary practical guide for clinicians

Margot Green, Vince Marzano, Isabel Leditschke, Imogen Mitchell, Bernie BISSETT

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives: To describe our experience and the practical tools we have developed to facilitate early mobilization in the intensive care unit (ICU) as a multidisciplinary team. Background: Despite the evidence supporting early mobilization for improving outcomes for ICU patients, recent international point-prevalence studies reveal that few patients are mobilized in the ICU. Existing guidelines rarely address the practical issues faced by multidisciplinary ICU teams attempting to translate evidence into practice. We present a comprehensive strategy for safe mobilization utilized in our ICU, incorporating the combined skills of medical, nursing, and physiotherapy staff to achieve safe outcomes and establish a culture which prioritizes this intervention. Methods: A raft of tools and strategies are described to facilitate mobilization in ICU by the multidisciplinary team. Patients without safe unsupported sitting balance and without =3/5 (Oxford scale) strength in the lower limbs commence phase 1 mobilization, including training of sitting balance and use of the tilt table. Phase 2 mobilization involves supported or active weight-bearing, incorporating gait harnesses if necessary. The Plan B mnemonic guides safe multidisciplinary mobilization of invasively ventilated patients and emphasizes the importance of a clearly articulated plan in delivering this valuable treatment as a team. Discussion: These tools have been used over the past 5 years in a tertiary ICU with a very low incidence of adverse outcomes (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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