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Instituting a Standardized Mobility Aid in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit

Freeman, Regi, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC; Koerner, Erika, MSN, RN, AGNP-BC

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0000000000000208
Original Articles

The complexity of ambulation increases when patients are challenged with acute illness in the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU). The difficulties in this setting entailed limited ancillary assistance, proper equipment, and complex medical devices. It was imperative that mobility was made a priority in the CVICU despite multiple barriers. To improve mobility functionality, mobility aids were obtained. To evaluate the effectiveness of the mobility aids, data were collected, including staff surveys, time studies, and chart audits. The outcomes from implementing the mobility aids revealed a reduction in the number of staff required to ambulate medically complex patients from an average of 2.3 to 1.9 staff members and in medically noncomplex patients remained unchanged from 1.4 to 1.6 staff members. Preparation time for ambulation was reduced from 12.8 to 8.3 minutes on average for medically noncomplex patients and from 14 to 9.7 minutes for the medically complex patients. Ambulation sessions for medically noncomplex patients increased on average from 1.5 to 2.8 sessions per day and for medically complex patients decreased from 1.2 to 0.5 sessions per day. Overall, clinically significant improvements were noted with both preparation time for ambulation and the number of mobility sessions that support the use of a standardized mobility aid.

Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor.

Correspondence: Regi Freeman, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, 4726C Cardiovascular ICU, Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center, University of Michigan, 1500 E. Medical Center Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (

We acknowledge the care provided by our extraordinary multidisciplinary team at the Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center. We could not provide the finest care to our patients without our nursing staff, advance practice team, respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, spiritual care professionals, heart failure team, pharmacists, social workers, case managers, perfusionists, surgeons, intensivist team, and many others. Thanks for all you do to help mobilize our critically ill patients.

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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