Date of Publication



Implementation of a Deconditioning Prevention Program: Getting Dressed Makes a Difference

Seleem R. Choudhury MSN, MBA, RN, CEN, FAEN

Purpose. Deconditioning by immobility or bed rest affects essential body systems and diminishes functional capacity. Individuals age 65 and older have more hospital stays than any other age group. they also account for one out of three hospital admissions costing healthcare over $330 Billion annually. Numerous studies demonstrate this age group often struggle to get back to normal level of activity. . Empowering patients to dress and wear their own clothes can prevent deconditioning. Benefits to hospitals include reduced cost through admissions, improved patient flow by reducing their length of stay (LOS) which can lead to timelier admissions for other patients. A longer LOS also raises the probability of a hospital-acquired condition (HAC), which is an undesirable situation or condition that affects a patient during a hospital stay. Finally, patients who get dressed may feel more satisfied with the care they receive.

Methods. To prevent deconditioning through the development of promoting activity by getting patients dressed which reduces the risk of deconditioning as measured by three outcomes: 1) LOS, 2) HAC, 3)Patient Satisfaction. LOS and HAC data were collected from chart review. Patient satisfaction was evaluated by HCAHPS metrics.

Results. Three months of data were analyzed and compared in 2016 and 2017. The data were also segregated into age groups to analyze any benefit to over 65-year-olds. The comparison did not demonstrate clear correlation that the deconditioning program impacted the LOS and Patient Satisfaction. LOS comparison (n-832) showed improvement in month three in ages 18-59 and over 75. The ages 55-74 showed no decrease in LOS however recalculating the data from median versus mean showed all age groups LOS did decrease. Patient Satisfaction metrics (n-207) showed no clear inference or consistent pattern that deconditioning program improved satisfaction. Scores stayed comparable to previous years, especially among 18-54 age group. The 75 plus age group did see a decline in scores. Hospital Acquired Complications (HAC) was not a reliable indicator with only one incident in a two-year period. Methodological flaws in unreliable data and insufficient ability to separate variables within the electronic health record confounded comparison. Finally, the multi-faceted nature of discharges limited all of the indicators’ validity.

Conclusions. The importance of being active is universally understood, yet hospitals struggle to implement this action. Data of 1-year mortalities of over 65 support that hospitals need to do more to improve this outcome. A simple program of getting dressed everyday has the potential to reduce LOS and with further study, improve 1-year mortality. This study also showed that whilst patient satisfaction is not increased, it also does not significantly decrease therefore it’s possible to assume that our patients want hospital staff to be assertive with preventing Deconditioning Syndrome. Finally, whilst not supported in this study future work, could analyze staff’s perception of patient readiness for discharge alongside data gradually demonstrating a decrease of LOS of 75-year old.

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