Mobilizing older adults: A multi-site, exploratory and observational study on patients enrolled in the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP).

Document Type


Publication Date



Nursing, Geriatrics

Journal Title

Geriatric Nursing

MeSH Headings

Patient Handling Psychosocial Factors; Accidental Falls Prevention and Control; Patient Admission; Exercise; Patient Safety; Human; Aged; Surveys; Exploratory Research; Nonexperimental Studies; Data Analysis; Aged: 65+ years


The aim of this study was to explore and describe the characteristics of the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) sites and how they mobilize patients with volunteers in the United States and other countries. The purpose was to describe: the number of enrollments, modalities, fall and injury rates, and to identify barriers to mobilization. A survey was distributed to 228 international sites. The responding sites enrolled an average of 53.9 (SD 35.3) patients per month. The majority (76%) reported that mobilization included 'active range of motion exercises' and 'ambulation'. Eighteen percent identified volunteer training, safety and liability concerns as barriers. Falls with injury on HELP units was 0–3%, with an average rate of 0.46 per 1,000 patient days. No patient falls while ambulating with the HELP team and/or volunteers were reported. More research and evidence are needed to further determine barriers and safety of mobilization with the HELP during hospitalization.

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