To evaluate the methodological quality and thematic completeness of existing clinical practice guidelines, addressing early mobilization of adults in the ICU.
Systematic review of Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane, and grey literature from January 2008 to February 2020.
Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts and then full texts for eligibility. Ten publications were included.
A single reviewer extracted data from the included publications and a second reviewer completed cross-checking. Qualitative data were extracted in five categories relating to the key factors influencing delivery of early mobilization to critically ill patients.
Methodological quality was appraised using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II tool. Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II scores for applicability were low. Median quality scores for editorial independence, rigor of development, and stakeholder engagement were also poor. Narrative synthesis of publication content was undertaken. All publications supported implementation of early mobilization. Most documents agreed upon seven topics: 1) early mobilization is safe and may reduce healthcare costs, 2) safety criteria should be provided, 3) a protocolized or structured approach should be used, 4) collaborative teamwork is required, 5) staff require specific skills or experience, 6) patient and family engagement is important, and 7) program evaluation and outcome measurement are a key component of implementation. There was no consensus on dosage and patient selection. The areas of team culture and leadership were poorly addressed.
Despite significant variation in the methodological quality of clinical practice guidelines for early mobilization, there were important consistencies in recommendations internationally. Future research should address gaps related to patient selection, dosage, team culture, and expertise. Future clinical practice guidelines in this area should focus on engagement of patients and families in the development process and provision of resources to support implementation based on the consideration of known barriers and facilitators.