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Low levels of activity in hospital inpatients contribute to functional decline. Previous studies have shown low levels of activity in older inpatients, but few have investigated younger inpatients (aged < 65 years). This observational study measured activity in older (aged ≥65 years) and younger hospital inpatients on 3 wards (medical, surgical, oncology) in a major teaching hospital in Brisbane, Australia, as part of a quality-improvement intervention to enhance mobility. Using structured behavioral mapping protocols, participants were observed for 2-minute intervals throughout 4, 4-hour daytime observation periods. The proportion of time spent at different activity levels was calculated for each participant, and time spent standing, walking or wheeling was compared between age group and wards. There were 3272 observations collected on 132 participants (median, 30 per patient; range, 9–35). The most time was spent lying in bed (mean 57%), with 9% standing or walking. There were significant differences among wards, but no difference between older and younger subgroups. Low mobility is common in adult inpatients of all ages. Behavioral mapping provided measures suitable for use in quality improvement.

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Journal Article

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