Background: Early mobilization (EM) of intensive care (IC) patients is important but complex with facilitators and barriers. Compared to general IC patients, burn IC patients are more hyper-metabolic. They have extensive wounds, lengthy wound dressing changes, and repeated surgeries that may affect possibilities of EM. This study aimed to identify facilitators and barriers of EM in burn IC patients among all disciplines involved. Additionally, we assessed EM practices, i.e. when are which patients considered suitable for EM.
Methods: A survey was sent to 139 professionals involved in EM of burn IC patients (discipline groups: Intensivists, medical doctors, registered nurses, therapists).
Results: Response rate was 57 %. The majority found EM very important, yet different definitions were chosen. Perceived barriers mainly concerned patient-level factors, most frequently hemodynamic instability and excessive sedation followed by skin graft surgery, fatigue, and pain management. Most frequent barriers at the provider-level were limited staffing, safety concerns, and conflicting perceptions about the suitability of EM. At the institutional-level, we found no high barriers. Interdisciplinary variation on perceived barriers, when to initiate it, and permitted maximal activity were ascertained.
Conclusion: Skin grafts and pain management were barriers of EM specific for burn care. Opinions on frequency, dosage and duration of EM varied widely. Improving interdisciplinary communication is key.