Data from the current study suggesting an association between functional gains and physical activity for participants taking more than 398 steps per day could contribute to development of such guidelines. No matter whether current physical activity guidelines for older adults are appropriate for orthopaedic rehabilitation inpatients, the results of the current study suggest that these patients could benefit from being more active. A change to the rehabilitation
ward environment has been shown to reduce the amount of time patients spent at their bedsides but did not increase physical activity levels (Newall et al 1997) highlighting the need for supervision, encouragement, and a change in attitude of hospital staff who are riskaverse and prefer patients not to mobilise independently. Inpatients in rehabilitation do more physical activity when therapy Navitoclax is being provided (Bear-Lehman et al 2001, Smith et al 2008) and spend little time in self-directed physical activity (Newall et al 1997, Patterson et al 2005, Tinson 1989). This suggests that one potential way of increasing physical activity levels would be to provide additional allied health therapy. GDC-0449 cell line In a recent randomised controlled trial, participants who received physiotherapy and occupational therapy interventions
six days per week had significantly higher physical activity levels than those who received the intervention on five days (Peiris et al 2012a). Results from a qualitative study Rutecarpine of patients in the same setting indicate that patients are agreeable to the additional therapy (Peiris et al 2012b) and the resulting higher levels of physical activity. Other options include group therapy and utilisation of allied health assistants to increase physical activity levels. However, as resources can be limited, efforts need to be made by physiotherapists to implement strategies to empower ward staff, patients, and their carers to increase
physical activity levels outside of therapy. One limitation of our study is that the activity monitor used did not record activity in lying or sitting. However, it has been advocated that doing non-stepping activity such as bed exercises should not be considered mobilisation or a substitute for upright physical activity (Bernhardt et al 2007) and that, in this population, walking is the most important activity to measure (Tudor-Locke et al 2011). In conclusion, patients with lower limb orthopaedic conditions in inpatient rehabilitation are relatively inactive and do not meet current physical activity guidelines. Given the importance of physical activity for general health and functional improvements following hospitalisation it is important to develop methods to decrease sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity levels in rehabilitation. Footnotes: aActivPAL, PAL Technologies, Glasgow.