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Early enforced mobilisation following surgery for gastrointestinal cancer: feasibility and outcomes

Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the feasibility and outcomes of early enforced mobilisation following surgery for gastrointestinal cancer.

Design

Feasibility study with a separate-sample pre–post-test design.

Setting

Surgical gastrointestinal ward.

Participants

Patients with various types of gastrointestinal cancer, before and after implementation of postoperative enforced mobilisation (n = 55 and n = 61, respectively).

Intervention

The enforced mobilisation protocol included structured mobilisation by a nurse and walking supervised by a physiotherapist, starting within 24 hours of surgery.

Main outcome measures

The enforced mobilisation protocol was deemed to be feasible if at least 50% of patients were able to walk the scheduled distance on postoperative day 1. Pre- and postimplementation differences in postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs), length of hospital stay (LOS) and re-admission rate were analysed using regression analyses, adjusting for relevant co-variables.

Results

In the various surgical groups, between 48% and 56% of patients were able to walk the scheduled distance on postoperative day 1, which was regarded as feasible. However, none of the patients who had undergone oesophageal resection were able to walk on postoperative day 1. Excluding these patients from the analyses, a significant decrease in PPCs was found (odds ratio 0.08, 95% confidence interval 0.010 to 0.71, P = 0.023) following implementation of enforced mobilisation. Differences in LOS and re-admission rate were not significant.

Conclusions

Early enforced mobilisation seems to be feasible in patients following surgery for gastrointestinal cancer, except for those undergoing oesophageal resection. The occurrence of PPCs was reduced after implementation of enforced mobilisation. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

Cite this article

Early enforced mobilisation following surgery for gastrointestinal cancer: feasibility and outcomes.

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