Towards "mobility is medicine": Socioecological factors and hospital mobility in older adults.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Understanding the factors that influence hospital mobility, especially in the context of a heightened focus on falls prevention, is needed to improve care. OBJECTIVE: This qualitative study uses a socioecological framework to explore factors that influence hospital mobility in older adults. DESIGN: Qualitative research PARTICIPANTS: Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with medically-ill hospitalized older adults (n = 19) and providers (hospitalists, nurses, and physical and occupational therapists (n = 48) at two hospitals associated with an academic health system. APPROACH: Interview and focus group guides included questions on perceived need for mobility, communication about mobility, hospital mobility culture, and awareness of patients' walking activity. Data were analyzed thematically and mapped onto the constructs of the socioecological model. KEY RESULTS: A consistent theme among patients and providers was that "mobility is medicine." Categories of factors reported to influence hospital walking activity included intrapersonal factors (patients' health status, fear of falls), interpersonal factors (patient-provider communication about mobility), organizational factors (clarity about provider roles and responsibilities, knowledge of safe patient handling, reliance on physical therapy for mobility), and environmental factors (falls as a never event, patient geographical locations on hospital units). Several of these factors were identified as potentially modifiable targets for intervention. Patients and providers offered recommendations for improving awareness of patient's ambulatory activity, assigning roles and responsibility for mobility, and enhancing education and communication between patients and providers across disciplines. CONCLUSION: Patients and providers identified salient factors for future early mobility initiatives targeting hospitalized older adults. Consideration of these factors across all stages of intervention development and implementation will enhance impact and sustainability.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pavon, JM; Fish, LJ; Colón-Emeric, CS; Hall, KS; Morey, MC; Pastva, AM; Hastings, SN

Published Date

  • July 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 69 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 1846 - 1855

PubMed ID

  • 33755991

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8273111

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-5415

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/jgs.17109


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States