Medical literature shows that the sooner a patient is mobile once hospitalized, the better. That can be difficult for patients such as 84-year-old Mary Nychka, who was admitted to the Grey Nuns Community Hospital after experiencing horrible pains in her hips, back and legs. But a new program called Walk With Me was just what she needed.
“When you’re in pain, you don’t want to move, and this was quite encouraging,” she says.
It can be difficult for patients or family members to know where to start. Walk With Me’s educational materials and Laurie Reid, Unit Manager, offer some straightforward advice: “Start with a little bit and build from there. If it’s just getting up and sitting on the edge of the bed for five minutes, or sitting in a chair to have lunch and going back to bed, it’s showing people that they can do it.”
Mary says she thoroughly enjoyed her time working and walking with the hospital staff. “[They’re] all very well trained and professional, and [have] such empathy; they’re very good. It really helped me."
The Walk With Me program was implemented in January 2016 on Unit 52, the Geriatric and Stroke Rehabilitation unit. It was created to help reinforce that mobility is a shared responsibility. The program aims to help make care teams, families and patients aware of the importance of mobility and how to be safe.
“We wanted to provide a little bit of education about the benefits of being mobile while in hospital,” says Laurie. “The number of hours that people typically spend in bed in a hospital is really high compared with the number of hours you would spend in bed at home. All the systems of your body are affected by being immobile.”
After some refinements, the program is now rolling out to other medicine units.
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