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Get Up and Move with Overlook's Mobility Program

February 15, 2019

Overlook’s mobility program helps patients get back on their feet

Forget everything you think you know about resting in the hospital. “Patients stuck in bed get out of shape in a hurry,” says Chief Medical Officer John R. Audett, MD

We do all of these wonderful things to treat the patient’s pneumonia, diabetes, heart condition, etc., but then they are too weak to go home. Bed rest isn’t a good thing – we need to get out of that mindset. Patients have to get up and move.”

– Dr. Audett

Overlook Medical Center's mobility program was created to help patients do just that. Specially trained mobility technicians, working hand-in-hand with the hospital’s physical therapists, help guard against deconditioning and promote healing by ambulating patients. “It’s a simple intervention that makes so much sense and makes a big difference,” says Dr. Audett, citing benefits that include improved circulation and muscle strength. This translates to shorter hospital stays and more patients being discharged home instead of to subacute rehabilitation or skilled nursing facilities.

“Instead of viewing patients as being in a hospital and here to rest because they are sick, we’re acknowledging patients are here to get better. So let’s not rest,” says Mickey Syrop, PT, manager of physical therapy at Overlook Medical Center. “We say, ‘We’ve got you here. You’re in good hands. We’re taking care of your medical needs, and you should be feeling better. So let’s get you up and moving.’ "

The mobility program was first introduced two years ago as an unfunded project, and Dr. Audett credits the Overlook Foundation for its help in expanding the program. He says that as more doctors and nurses have seen the benefits of the program, there has been a cultural shift toward movement. Patients, too, are embracing the program. “Some patients need reassurance and feel better having ‘training wheels,’ so to speak, which they have with the mobility techs,” he says. “They are very motivated to get back on their feet under our watchful eye and go home.”