1. Anton, Paula MS, RN, CRRN, ACNS-BC
  2. Issue Editors
  3. Dickinson, Sharon MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, ANP, CCRN
  4. Issue Editors
  5. Taylor, Sarah MSN, RN, ACNS-BC
  6. Issue Editors

Article Content

This issue of Critical Care Nurse Quarterly is dedicated to Safe Patient Handling and Mobility across a health system.


Safe Patient Handling and Mobility (SPHM) is a multifactorial concept of considerable importance in today's health care environment.1,2 Early mobility is widely accepted as a strategy for the prevention of complications of bed rest and reduction in length of stay among hospitalized patients.3 Mobility programs including both physical therapy and restoration of muscle function can be used to reduce complications of hospitalization and are gaining the attention of many.3 In addition to emphasis on mobility, there is an increasing focus on staff safety in the workplace with recommended weight-lifting limits and on the importance of using equipment and other means of safely moving patients.1,2


This issue of Critical Care Nurse Quarterly is intended to give the reader a sense of SPHM in all areas of the hospital. It begins with a comprehensive summary by Black, Salsbury, and Vollman on the significance of creating a culture of safety and the effects of immobility in hospitalized patients. The article by Dickinson, Taylor, and Anton then details the work to develop a standardized mobility and safe patient handling program across a health system. This SPHM program integrates an early mobility protocol with safe patient handling principles including patient assessment, standardized movements, and choice of mobility equipment. Nagle and Lee describe the process to educate and roll out an SPHM initiative to thousands of nurses that addresses development of an educational plan, as well as the challenges and barriers to implementation. Then, Adamczyk reviews of the impact of an SPHM pilot program on staff injuries.


The next section of the issue addresses different patient populations and strategies for mobilizing some of the most challenging patients seen in hospitals today. The topics to be covered are ambulation of a patient receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation by Knobaluch and Rickelmann, rehabilitation after a prolonged illness by Richard and Anton, a patient requiring bariatric surgery by Gillespie and Lane, how to efficiently and safely move a patient with cardiac surgery by Freeman and Koerner, and finally, moving patients who need emergency department care by Havey, Aebersold, and Terrasi.


The issue concludes with a model for mobilizing pediatric patients with an introduction by Dr Chris Dickinson. Tapley and Owens describe the conception and implementation of a standardized SPHM program in a pediatric hospital. VanDamme, Flori, and Owens discuss early mobilization in a pediatric intensive care unit and Parchem, Peck, and Tales illustrate the appropriate equipment to use during mobility episodes. The issue closes with an explanation of the strategies suggested and used to sustain SPHM in a large medical center by Totzkay.


The editors feel that this issue espouses the best in evidence-based practice, multidisciplinary care, teamwork, and standardization in this complex, intricate environment, and can be a framework to help others who endeavor to do the same.


-Paula Anton, MS, RN, CRRN, ACNS-BC


-Sharon Dickinson, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, ANP, CCRN


-Sarah Taylor, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC


Issue Editors




1. American Nurses Association. Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: Interprofessional National Standards. Silver Springs, MD: American Nurses Association; 2013. [Context Link]


2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Safe patient handling lifting standards for a safer American workforce. Published 2010. Published February 15, 2018. [Context Link]


3. Doherty-King B, FAU YJ, Pecanac KF, Brown RF, Mahoney J. Frequency and duration of nursing care related to older patient mobility. J Nurs Scholarsh. 2014;46(1):20-27. [Context Link]