Walking in hospital is associated with a shorter length of stay in older medical inpatients

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McCullagh, Ruth
Dillon, Christina B.
Dahly, Darren L.
Horgan, N. Frances
Timmons, Suzanne
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Evidence suggests that inactivity during a hospital stay is associated with poor health outcomes in older medical inpatients. We aimed to estimate the associations of average daily step-count (walking) in hospital with physical performance and length of stay in this population. Medical in-patients aged ⩾65 years, premorbidly mobile, with an anticipated length of stay ⩾3 d, were recruited. Measurements included average daily step-count, continuously recorded until discharge, or for a maximum of 7 d (Stepwatch Activity Monitor); co-morbidity (CIRS-G); frailty (SHARE F-I); and baseline and end-of-study physical performance (short physical performance battery). Linear regression models were used to estimate associations between step-count and end-of-study physical performance or length of stay. Length of stay was log transformed in the first model, and step-count was log transformed in both models. Similar models were used to adjust for potential confounders. Data from 154 patients (mean 77 years, SD 7.4) were analysed. The unadjusted models estimated for each unit increase in the natural log of stepcount, the natural log of length of stay decreased by 0.18 (95% CI −0.27 to −0.09). After adjustment of potential confounders, while the strength of the inverse association was attenuated, it remained significant (βlog(steps) = −0.15, 95%CI −0.26 to −0.03). The back-transformed result suggested that a 50% increase in step-count was associated with a 6% shorter length of stay. There was no apparent association between step-count and end-of-study physical performance once baseline physical performance was adjusted for. The results indicate that step-count is independently associated with hospital length of stay, and merits further investigation.
Accelerometry , Physical activity , Walking , Gerontology , Length of stay , Physical performance
McCullagh, R., Dillon, C., Dahly, D., Horgan, N.F. and Timmons, S. (2016) ‘Walking in hospital is associated with a shorter length of stay in older medical inpatients’, Physiological Measurement, 37, pp. 1872–1884. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/37/10/1872
© 2016, Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. This is an author-created, un-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication in Physiological Measurement. The publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it. The Version of Record is available online at http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0967-3334/37/10/1872/pdf