Moving in the Right Direction

Franciscan Health Michigan City recognized for enhancing its culture of mobility

Study after study has shown that early mobility is key to a patient’s recovery. Nonetheless, many barriers, from insufficient coordination of care to inadequate staffing, often prevent patients from getting up and moving. Leaders at Franciscan Health Michigan City investigated patient activity level in their hospital and found that while 86 percent of patients could be as active in the hospital as at home, 76 percent of the time patients did not have the opportunity to perform at their highest level of mobility. The hospital established a mobility committee to address this issue and enhance the organization’s culture of mobility.

The committee completed a needs assessment, examined current literature and built a multifaceted mobility program. The team developed a nurse-driven mobility rating scale, trained all providers to use the same language when describing mobility and created a mobility team of certified nursing assistants whose primary job is to mobilize patients seven days a week.

The program saw immediate results. Following the six-month pilot phase of the program, the percentages of patients who ambulated in the hallway were 80 percent, 80 percent and 50 percent across the three medical-surgical units. Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers dropped by 70 percent, all-cause readmission rates dropped by 43 percent and discharges to skilled nursing facilities dropped by 39 percent. These outcomes supported the cost of hiring the mobility team and provided a value-based approach to administrative decisions. Patient mobility is now a priority, and the program has been implemented in other Franciscan Health facilities.

In recognition of the program’s success, IHA’s Indiana Patient Safety Center awarded the mobility committee at Franciscan Health Michigan City with the 2017 Patient Safety Innovation Award. The committee includes Brooke Nack, inpatient therapy manager; Bobbi Foster-Herron, RN, clinical nurse specialist; Laura Fuller, RN, director of critical care and emergency services; Sarah Jones, director of patient care services; and Cathy Hebbe, RN, nurse manager. In addition, two hospitalists, Dr. Bikash Agarwal and Dr. Hosn Maatouk, were integral in hardwiring the program.

The interdisciplinary nature of the team contributed to the program’s success, Nack noted.

“It was a collaborative effort from the beginning. Nurses and therapists examined literature together, designed the program together and educated peers together,” she said. “Innovation engages us in our work, unifying different skill sets to do something good and meaningful for our patients.”