Early ambulation of patients with total joint replacement (TJR) has been shown to improve outcomes while reducing length of stay and postoperative complications. Limited physical therapy (PT) resources and late-in-the-day cases may challenge day-of-surgery (POD0) ambulation. At our institution, a Mobility Technician (MT) program, composed of specially trained nurse's aides, was developed to address this issue.
The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of the MT model with a traditional PT model in the early ambulation of patients with TJR.
Patients undergoing unilateral primary TJR at a single institution between June 1, 2014, and October 31, 2018, were included. Ambulation measures were retrospectively assessed between pre- and post-MT program groups.
This study included 11,777 patients with TJR. Following the MT program, number of POD0 ambulations, POD0 ambulation distance, and total distance ambulated all increased while time-to-first ambulation decreased.
Preliminary analyses indicate that the MT program has been successful in the early ambulation of patients with TJR.