Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Factors Associated With Walking in Older Medical Inpatients..pdf (639.74 kB)

Factors associated with walking in older medical inpatients.

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-04-25, 13:44 authored by Ruth McCullagh, Dahly Darren, Frances HorganFrances Horgan, Suzanne Timmons

Objective: To identify patient characteristics on admission and daily events during hospitalization that could influence older medical inpatients walking activity during hospitalization.

Design: A cohort study.

Setting: Acute hospitalized care.

Participants: Premorbidly mobile, nonsurgical, nonelective inpatients (50% women) aged ≥65 years (N=154), with an anticipated ≥3-day inpatient stay were recruited consecutively within 48 hours of hospital admission. Of the 227 patients screened, 69 did not meet study criteria and 4 refused.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Age, comorbidities (Cumulative Illness Rating Scale), cognitive status (6-item Cognitive Impairment Test), falls history and efficacy (Falls Efficacy Scale-International), physical performance (short physical performance battery), and medications were recorded within 2 days of admission. Walking activity (step count) was recorded for 7 days or until discharge. Daily events (procedures, falls, fear of falling, ordered bedrest, devices or treatments that hindered walking [eg, intravenous fluids, wall-mounted oxygen therapy], patient- and nurse-reported medial status, fatigue, sleep quality, physiotherapy, or occupational therapy intervention) were measured on concurrent weekdays. Their associations with daily (log) step count were estimated using linear mixed-effects models, adjusted for patient-characteristics measured at admission.

Results: Approximately half of the variability in step count was described at the within-patient level. Multivariable models suggested positive associations with Wednesdays (+25% in step count; 95% confidence interval, 4-53), admission physical performance (+15%, 8-22), improving medical status (+33%, 7-64), negative associations with devices or treatments that hinder walking (-29%, -9 to -44), and instructed bedrest (-69%, -55 to -79).

Conclusion: Day-to-day step count fluctuated, suggesting considerable scope for intervention. Devices or treatments that hinder walking should be reviewed daily and walking activity should become a clinical priority. Admission physical performance may identify vulnerable patients.


Irish Health Research Board (HRB, HPF 2013)



The original article is available at

Published Citation

McCullagh R, Darren D, Horgan NF, Timmons S. Factors associated with walking in older medical inpatients. Arch Rehabil Res Clin Transl. 2020;2(1):100038

Publication Date

11 January 2020

PubMed ID



  • School of Physiotherapy

Research Area

  • Population Health and Health Services


Elsevier BV


  • Published Version (Version of Record)