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Advice about activity for older inpatients

...does it improve activity, mobility, strength, length of stay, and complications during hospitalisation?

The level of physical activity decreases progressively with ageing. During hospitalisation, sedentary behaviour is common, with inpatients spending long periods resting in bed, regardless of their primary reason for admission.

Low physical activity during hospitalisation impairs muscle strength and functional performance, which reduces independence. Decreasing sedentary behaviour time as well as maintaining muscular strength and functional performance during hospitalisation can prevent loss of independence after hospital discharge.

Despite knowing all this, many patients still spend much of their hospital admission lying in bed. One-third of hospitalised older adults are kept at rest in bed or with low levels of physical activity for no reason.

The authors also followed up patients after their hospital admission to ask them about barriers to staying active during their hospital admission. The most commonly reported barriers to remaining active during hospitalisation were dyspnoea, lack of space, and fear of contracting infection.

Overall, this study’s results suggest that verbal advice and an illustrated booklet on the benefits of staying active during hospitalisation increased the level of physical activity, ultimately reflecting less loss of mobility in older patients hospitalised for clinical reasons.

> From: Moreno, J Physiother 65 (2019) 208-214 . All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the online summary.

Want to read deeper into this topic? Have a look at the free full text version of this article published in Journal of Physiotherapy!

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