Orthopaedic nurses specialize in preventing musculoskeletal disorders and complications in postoperative patients through early mobility. A review of the literature reveals recent studies that discuss the benefits of early mobility in intensive care patients. Early progressive mobility programs use a systematic progression of activity to prevent deconditioning and its complications in critically ill patients. Increasing patient mobility in the intensive care unit can help the orthopaedic nurse continue the promotion of wellness and self-care and the prevention of injury in the care of individuals with musculoskeletal disorders. This article includes a description of the development of an innovative progressive mobility activity protocol for intensive care unit patients in a community hospital, using a detailed, methodical approach to identify the need for practice change and to create a plan for achieving this change.
Lisa King, MSN, ACNS-BC, Lecturer, Kent State University Ashtabula, Ashtabula, Ohio.
The author has disclosed that she has no financial interests to any commercial company related to this educational activity.