Patient and Family Resources

Patient Walking Program

Studies show that increasing patient activity while in the hospital not only reduces the chances of developing further medical complications, such as blood clots, pneumonia, bedsores, urinary tract infections, etc., but also improves the overall quality of life for patients. While the staff at St. Joseph Hospital aims to increase patient activity, we find it important that the family be involved. We have included these guidelines to assist family members in becoming more involved in the ambulation walking program for their loved one.

  • Promote independence when encouraging your family member to do his/her own activities of daily living (e.g., sitting up in a chair when eating, brushing teeth, washing up, walking in the hallway and walking to the bathroom instead of using the bed pan/and or diapers).
  • Encourage your family member to wear glasses, hearing aids and shoes/slippers when participating in the walking activities. Please inform the nurse of any items you brought from home.
  • Support your family member to walk at least four times per day (using a cane or walker if needed) at an “exertion” level of very light to somewhat hard.
  • Encourage your family member to sit up in the chair for 20 minutes during meals.
  • Support your family member to stay awake instead of sleeping in the day hours, open the curtains to let the light in the room, accompany your family member on a walk.
  • Motivate and assist your family member to perform exercises as instructed by physical therapy, occupational therapy and/or nursing. Please assist them as needed.
  • Encourage use of the Incentive Spirometer 10 times hourly while awake. This may be ordered by your physician.

If you have questions about the ambulation/walking program please speak to the nurse or the charge nurse.

References: Markey, D.W., & Brown, R.J. (2002) An interdisciplinary approach to addressing patient activity and mobility in the medical/surgical patient. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 16,(4) 1-12.