Clinical evidence indicates that critically ill patients are at risk for developing Intensive Care Unit (ICU)-acquired weakness. Failing to get critically ill patients moving, and keeping them continuously sedated, results in poorer outcomes; these include muscular atrophy, functional impairment, longer duration of mechanical ventilation, and increased incidence of delirium, which can lead to long-term cognitive impairment.
The NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System has implemented multidisciplinary ICU mobilization teams to create culture change towards earlier physical activity, improving patient outcomes, and reducing both ICU and total hospital lengths of stay. Teams of nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and a variety of therapists use evidence-based models to identify and treat patients before they develop ICU-associated weakness. The total number of days each patient has stayed at the hospital has decreased an average of half a day since the program started in 2012.