Growing evidence supports the benefits and safety of early mobilization of patients in intensive care units. Frequently cited barriers to early mobilization are insufficient staffing and training. This study examines the number of professionals and years of physical therapy or occupational therapy experience needed to mobilize patients in neuro-intensive care units with external ventricular drains (EVDs).
The study was a retrospective review of a prospective quality improvement database, which includes 185 encounters with 90 patients with EVDs from June 2014 through July 2015.
Ninety-five percent of encounters required at most 2 professionals for mobilization. No evidence of association between number of people required to mobilize and highest activity achieved was found. Neither the number of people to mobilize patients nor the primary therapist's years of experience were associated with the type of activity achieved or the occurrence of an adverse event.
This analysis suggests that patients with EVDs in the neuro-intensive care unit can be safely and efficiently mobilized by physical therapists and occupational therapists of varying levels of clinical experience. Early mobilization of patients with EVDs may demand fewer staff resources than perceived by clinicians.