Activity levels of inpatients admitted to two rehabilitation units in regional hospitals: An observational study

Jon Garner, Moira Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: The objective of this study is to measure the activity levels of patients admitted to adult general inpatient rehabilitation units in regional areas. These included physical, social, cognitive and self-care activities. A secondary aim was to explore differences in activity levels across different diagnostic groups.
Design: An observational study using behavioural mapping. Patient activity was mapped every 15 minutes, over a 12-hour period (07:00-19:00), on two, non-consecutive days.
Setting: 2 inpatient rehabilitation units, inner regional NSW.
Participants: All patients were admitted for rehabilitation in an adult general rehabilitation unit. Patients presented with diverse diagnoses (eg neurological, musculoskeletal, orthopaedic, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases). The sample had a mean age of 74.4 years with a range of 33-96 years.
Main outcome measures: The percentage of the day spent in physical, cognitive or social activities was recorded. In addition, the patients' location and interacting personnel were recorded.
Results: Fifty-six participants across 8 diagnosis groups were observed. A total of 2285 observations were made. Patients were observed being active physically for 10% of their day, socially active for 23%, and cognitively for 6%. Patients engaged in other activities such as watching TV or eating 21% of their time, and completing self-care activities 7% of their time. Patients were inactive for 27% of their day. There was no statistically significant difference between the diagnostic groups and activity categories.
Conclusion: Patients spent a large proportion of their time inactive and alone in rehabilitation. In order to maximise outcome, rehabilitation units can look at new opportunities to maximise activity and promote engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-407
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number3
Early online date29 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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