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


Early, routine mobilization of critically ill patients is safe and reduces hospital length of stay, shortens the duration of mechanical ventilation, and improves muscle strength and functional independence. At the University of Michigan, we have turned the tides by creating a structured process to get our patients moving while keeping them and our staff safe through the use of a standardized mobility protocol that incorporates the components of safe patient handling. Our protocol is simple and can easily be adapted for all patient populations by simply modifying some of the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The protocol incorporates safe patient handling and mobility preassessment guidelines, mobility standards, equipment guidelines, and documentation tools. The activities are grounded in the evidence and well thought out to prevent complications, promote mobilization, and prevent patient and staff injuries. This article will discuss a how a tertiary care facility incorporated a safe patient-handling initiative into an existing mobility program and operationalized it across a health care system to keep our patients and staff safe.