Faculty Advisor(s)

Elizabeth Cyr

Document Type

Course Paper

Publication Date



© 2024 The Authors


Background and Purpose: Maintaining functional mobility in an acute care setting helps prevent physiologic deconditioning and prolonged hospital stays. However, not all patients qualify for skilled physical therapy (PT). This case report explores the application of a mobility program before and after a unique gastrointestinal (GI) surgery.

Case Description: A 52-year-old man required PT services on day one following surgery. He experienced severe pain post-operatively and required complex pain management. PT interventions were implemented once per day for two weeks including strength, balance, functional mobility, endurance, pain management, and safety training. Following the termination of skilled PT services, he was referred to a prescribed mobility program one to two times daily, five days per week, ambulating 500-1000 feet per session. The patient self-selected the frequency, pace, and distance walked per session. Outcome measures included the diistance walked per session and the Activity Measure for Post-Acute Care (AM-PAC) Inpatient Mobility Short Form.

Outcomes: During his one-month stay the patient made progress in his mobility as indicated by the distance walked per session from 30 feet at baseline to 650 feet. His AM-PAC scores increased from 12/24 post-operatively to 24/24 by the end of care.

Discussion and Conclusion: Participation in a mobility program contributed to improvements in functional mobility and prevention of deconditioning. The patient exhibited an increase in distance walked per session and improvements in his ability and willingness to participate. This case outlines the implementation, outcomes, and potential barriers associated with a mobility program. More research is needed to determine its effectiveness using a larger sample size and incorporating outcomes such as cardiovascular and patient subjective response.

Available for download on Saturday, March 15, 2025