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Get up, get dressed, get moving

05 Jul 2019


Nobody wants to be stuck in a hospital bed longer than they need to, but time spent inactive in hospital can be more than just uncomfortable.

Prolonged bed rest can put patients at greater risk of falls, pressure injuries and other health complications.

Every ten days of bed rest in hospital can be equivalent to ten years of muscle aging in those over 80, and these statistics have motivated staff at Nepean Hospital to take action.

“We’ve introduced the Get Up Get Dressed Get Moving program to help increase patient mobility and we’ve definitely seen a reduction in the length of stay in hospital for those patients,” says Nepean Hospital geriatrician Dr Natalie Fox.

International studies have proven that if patients get dressed in their normal clothes and stay active during their hospital stay they can greatly reduce a variety of health risks and get home quicker.

“We know that hospital acquired functional decline is a major issue, particularly for frail and elderly people, so it’s important that patients get up and moving as much as possible.”

The program is not just for frail and elderly patients, says Dr Fox. “Getting up, dressed and moving offers big benefits for patients of all ages.”

Benefits include:

  • Quicker recovery and discharge from hospital
  • Ability to better fight infections
  • A feeling of confidence and greater independence
  • Improved appetite, sleep and mood
  • Better muscle strength
  • Drastically reduced risk of complications such as a falls and pressure injuries
  • Reduced risk of fatigue, dizziness and pain

Dr Fox says there’s some simple tips for staying active and healthy in hospital.

  • Bring comfortable clothes and well-fitting shoes
  • Bring your glasses, hearing aids, dentures and walking aids (if required).
  • Talk to your nurses, doctors, physio and occupational therapists about being active during your stay, and how to remain active when you return home

“When you visit a loved one in hospital one the best things you can do is work with them and their clinical team to help the patient stay active for a quicker recovery,” says Dr Fox.