There are numerous physical and psychological benefits of early mobilisation. While these vary depending on the individual patient, they typically include:
Faster recovery & shorter hospital stays: Early mobilisation can help to accelerate the recovery process, enabling patients to regain basic functional abilities. Studies indicate this can lead to a reduction in length of hospital stays and re-admissions. Considering the average cost of a hospital stay in a major public hospital in Australia is $4680 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare), there are considerable financial benefits that result from early mobilisation.
Preventing muscle breakdown: Bed rest results in a 12% loss of muscle strength each week. This amounts to a 50% loss of total muscle strength after 3-5 weeks. Early mobilisation is critical to help combat this decline, enabling a patient to maintain basic functional abilities and preserve strength.
Improving joint range of motion: Regular movement and mobilisation helps maintain and improve joint flexibility.
Reducing complications: Early mobilisation can combat the range of complications that may arise from prolonged periods of bed rest, including pressure injuries, blood clots and deep vein thrombosis. It can further significantly reduce the risk of heart-related and respiratory complications like hospital-acquired pneumonia.
Psychological wellbeing: Early mobilisation plays a crucial role in restoring and maintaining independence, enabling individuals to perform daily activities, regain confidence, and enjoy an overall higher quality of life – even if that just means sitting outside for some Vitamin D.
Other benefits may include improved cardiovascular health and circulation, enhanced balance and coordination, improved respiratory function, better digestion and reduced overall pain.