Mobility Program During Hospitalization Improved Post-Discharge Ambulation Interview with:
Cynthia J. Brown, MD, MSPH, AGSF
Parrish Professor of Medicine and Director,
Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care
Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama 35294 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Brown: Low mobility is common during hospitalization and associated with loss of activities of daily living ability and community mobility. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of an in-hospital mobility program on post-hospital function and community mobility. Brown and colleagues, using a single blind randomized trial design, found that a mobility program that included offering assistance with ambulation linked with a behavioral intervention that focused on goal setting and addressing mobility barriers prevented loss of community mobility one month after hospital discharge. Those who received usual care experienced a clinically significant decline in community mobility. Functional status as measured by activities of daily living was not significantly different between the usual care and mobility program groups either before or after the hospitalization. Because low mobility in the hospital is associated with adverse outcomes including functional decline and nursing home placement even after controlling for illness severity and comorbid illness, these findings have potentially significant clinical implications. What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Brown: While a number of studies have shown the potential beneficial effects of hospital mobility, this is the first to utilize a randomized controlled trial design in a cohort of general medical patients and to examine outcomes beyond those occurring during hospitalization. In addition, the intervention is easy to implement and has the potential to be incorporated into usual care of any hospital. Specifically, by focusing on a walking intervention with a behavioral component that encourages out of bed mobility and goal setting, the intervention does not require the specialized skills of a PT but rather can be delivered by a mobility aide or possibly by well-trained volunteers. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Brown: This study provides evidence of the positive impact of mobility during hospitalization among older adults although the findings require replication before large scale implementation can be recommended. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Brown CJ, Foley KT, Lowman JD, Jr, et al. Comparison of Posthospitalization Function and Community Mobility in Hospital Mobility Program and Usual Care Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med.Published online May 31, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1870.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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