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Equipment Used for Safe Mobilization of the ICU Patient

Asher, Annamarie BS, PT, NCS

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e318275357e
Original Articles

Mobilizing critically ill patients in the intensive care unit requires careful planning and attention to detail. The risks involved in mobilizing these patients include dislodging equipment, injury to the patient, injury to the caregivers, and physiologic decompensation of the patient. To carry out the activity safely, the therapist and the nurse must identify risks and have contingency plans in place for; physically supporting the patient should they become unstable during the activity, for returning the patient to bed quickly if needed; and for providing increased oxygen/ventilator support if needed. If the activity involves leaving the bedside area, there must be a method to transport monitors, oxygen, and intravenous pumps. There are simple pieces of equipment, already available in the intensive care unit, which can be used to accomplish the mobility goals safely in all patient populations. This article explores how standard hospital equipment can be used to improve patient activity and performance and minimize risk.

Physical Therapy Division, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor.

Correspondence: Annamarie Asher, BS, PT, NCS, Physical Therapy Division, University of Michigan Medical Center, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (

This study was supported by the Physical Therapy Division of the University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor.

The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.