Physiotherapy provides the key to a better recovery

Researchers at Curtin University and the University of Notre Dame Australia and the physiotherapy department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital conducted a study that highlights the need for Intensive Care Unit or ICU patients for early mobilisation as it plays an important role in advancing long term recovery.

Dr. Kylie Hall, a researcher from Curtin University, stated that, “A prolonged stay in ICU has an enormous toll, not only on our health care system, but on the patients and their families.” According to Dr Hall, safety is the main reason why ICUs are conservative when it comes to mobilisation, especially for the critically unwell. However, early physiotherapy can improve the patient’s strength and endurance, which in turn makes for better patient outcomes.

As for the study, there is real evidence that reducing sedation and starting rehabilitation even with mechanical ventilator apparatus can significantly hasten recovery and long-term health. The study was conducted in St. Charles Gairdner Hospital in 2007 and 2008, joined by 181 patients with records of admission and discharges from the Department of Health throughout the state. Among the 181, 159 survived and 148 were re-hospitalized within a 12-month period after the date of discharge. Further on, of the group who did not independently walk out of the ICU 81% were re-admitted within the succeeding 12 months after. This is compared to those patients who walked out of the hospital unaided. “Our study was based on the records of past patients, so we were reliant on the information being recorded accurately,” stated Dr. Hall.

With these promising results, patients out of ICU can have a better outlook of their renewed health and lifestyle once early physiotherapy has started. It can also reduce other ICU and prolonged admission problems, like bed sores, weakened muscles and joints, and even depression.

To read more about the study and early mobilisation, click on

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