Original Research| Volume 49, ISSUE 4, P340-347, July 2010

Effectiveness of Instituting a Specific Bed Protocol in Reducing Complications Associated with Bed Rest

  • Monica H. Schweinberger
    Address correspondence to: Monica H. Schweinberger, DPM, AACFAS, Former Fellow, Limb Preservation Complex Lower Extremity Surgery and Research, 10 Fellowship, Limb Preservation Service, Vascular/Endovascular Surgery Service, 11 Department of Surgery, Madigan Army Medical Center; U.S. Department of Veterans, 12 Affairs Medical Center, 2360 East Pershing Boulevard, Cheyenne, WY 82001.
    Former Fellow, Limb Preservation Complex Lower Extremity Surgery and Research Fellowship, Limb Preservation Service, Vascular/Endovascular Surgery Service, Department of Surgery, Madigan Army Medical Center; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cheyenne, WY
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  • Thomas S. Roukis
    Chief, Limb Preservation Service, Vascular/Endovascular Surgery Service, Department of Surgery, Director Limb Preservation Complex Lower Extremity Surgery and Research Fellowship, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA
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Published:April 05, 2010DOI:


      Pressure ulceration, deep venous thromboembolism, and hospital-acquired pneumonia are well-known complications of bed rest. This retrospective, single-center, observational cohort study evaluated the effectiveness of instituting bed rest protocol that included specific positioning, continuous heel off-loading, recumbent upper and lower body bed exercises, scheduled incentive spirometry, frequent position changes, and thromboprophylaxis (chemical, mechanical, or both), in reducing the incidence of pressure ulceration, deep venous thromboembolism, and hospital-acquired pneumonia in consecutive patients admitted for at least 7 days. A total of 29 patients (24 males, 5 females) were included in this study, with a mean age of 62.5 (median 63, range 17 to 84) years. The mean length of bed rest was 13.1 (median 10, range 7 to 31) days; and, the mean length of hospital stay was 21.1 (median 17, range 8 to 72) days. During hospitalization, 2 (6.9%) patients developed one or more of the complications measured, with 1 developing a posterior heel pressure ulcer that resolved with local care and another who developed deep venous thrombosis without pulmonary embolism, managed with therapeutic anticoagulation, and hospital-acquired pneumonia treated with antibiotic therapy. The results of this analysis were favorable in comparison with previously reported incidence rates for pressure ulcer, deep venous thrombosis, and hospital-acquired pulmonary complications in patients with similar risk factors, and suggested that a prescribed bed protocol reduces complications associated with bed rest.

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