Patients discharged from an intensive care unit (ICU) typically have residual physical impairments and limitations in functional activities, which restrict their participation in daily activities and lifestyle. This may be true even if the primary pathology that led to ICU admission has resolved.
These impairments, limitations and restrictions may be the result of a number of complex interrelated factors involving reduced mobility, which commonly occur in patients hospitalised in an ICU.
Early mobilisation — defined as initiating walking or other activities within 24 to 48 hours after ICU admission — has increasing evidence for its safety, feasibility, and ability to ameliorate the impairments, limitations and restrictions. However, as in all areas of clinical practice, translating this evidence into practice is problematic.