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Incorporating Safe Patient-Handling Techniques to Mobilize Our Most Complex Patients on Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation

Rickelmann, Constance, BSN, RN, CCRN; Knoblauch, Diane, J., JD, MSN, RN

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0000000000000206
Original Articles

Historically, patients supported on extra corporeal membrane oxygenation were thought to be too unstable to engage in early mobility but are at increased risk for deconditioning from prolonged immobilization due to the nature of illness, numerous cannulas, equipment, and hemodynamic and respiratory instability along with heavy sedation/analgesia or paralysis. This article will discuss the specific considerations that should be employed to keep the patient and the staff safe while providing mobility to patients on extra corporeal membrane oxygenation.

Surgical Intensive Care Unit, University of Michigan Hospital and Health Systems, Ann Arbor.

Correspondence: Constance Rickelmann, BSN, RN, CCRN or Diane J. Knoblauch, JD, MSN, RN, University of Michigan Main Hospital, 1500 E. Medical Center Dr, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Box 0076, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 ( or

The authors thank Sharon Dickinson and Sarah Taylor for their mentorship and dedication to this project. Without their vision this project would not have been possible. The authors also thank Craig Meldrum for his assistance in data collection on the ECMO patient population.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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