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Invited Commentary
February 14, 2011

A Key Step for Hospitalized Elders: Comment on “Early Ambulation and Length of Stay in Older Adults Hospitalized for Acute Illness”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(3):268-269. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.1

Hospitalized adults spend the majority of their time lying in bed. Geriatric patients may be at highest risk for immobilization, with a recent study demonstrating that 83% of their time is spent in bed and only 4% standing or walking.1 Physiologically, immobility leads to decreased muscle strength and aerobic capacity, increased bone loss, and the development of vasomotor instability.2 Clinically, immobility is a risk factor for deconditioning, delirium, aspiration events, pressure ulcers, and falls.2-5 These complications lead to prolonged lengths of stay, increased likelihood of discharge to a skilled nursing facility, and increased mortality.3,5-8

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