PHYSIOTHERAPISTS at the Golden Jubilee have used a new technique to help ventilated patients get vital exercise.

Patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are typically limited to bed rest and the mobility of patients with breathing difficulties is necessarily restricted for the time they are on a ventilator.

But a new protocol involves physiotherapists and nurses moving the patient in such a way that enables them to walk while still being on the ventilator.

The technique was used recently for the first time on 21-year-old Louise Robbie.

Ross Marscheider, a senior physiotherapist at the Jubilee who carried out the new technique, said: “We have mobilised a patient on a ventilator for the very first time in this unit and it is great news for patients.

“People who require the use of a ventilator are often too ill to do any form of exercise, or even normal day-to-day activities.

“So, for Louise’s family to see her up and about on her feet, is great from a psychological point of view.”

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Mobility restriction in patients can lead to muscle atrophy, reduced exercise tolerance, weight loss and restriction in respiratory muscle function.

Helping patients move and exercise enables them to maintain muscle strength, which can deteriorate the longer a patient is bedbound.

The mobilisation of patients on a ventilator was performed by the same team that carried out the first mobilisation in the UK last year of a patient on a femoral intra-aortic balloon pump.

Philip Henderson, the registrar involved in Louise’s care, said: “Being able to get up and breathe a bit better while she’s mobilising around the ward will help Louise move forward and hopefully help get the breathing tube out a bit quicker.

“The introduction of a new technique like this helps us to deliver person-centred care for people who are extremely ill and gives us the ability to provide the patient with much-needed exercise which aids their recovery.”