“A step in the right direction” is the message that a staff-led walking program at Catholic Health’s St. Joseph Hospital (Bethpage, NY) is sending to its patients on the Surgery Unit (S Unit). The Step & Stroll program is an initiative that encourages patients (who are physically able) to get out of bed and walk, with assistance from a clinical staff member. For those who are unable to ambulate safely, the team provides wheelchair strolls through the unit so all patients may partake in the activity.
Research continues to show that physical activity can help accelerate healing. Benefits of walking include:
- Promotes blood flow—aids in quicker wound healing
- Stimulates circulation—can help stop the development of stroke-causing blood clots
- Reduces pressure injuries
- Improves digestion
- Can decrease the patients’ length of stay
“While walking is encouraged on a daily basis for patients who are physically able, Step & Stroll brings fun to a simple activity that offers many benefits to healing,” said Anthony Esposito, Director of Nursing at St. Joseph Hospital. “It is also great to see patients engaging with each other, the staff and occasionally going from a walk to a dance.”
Step & Stroll offers patients an organized walking activity held every Friday for 30 minutes. It features music to encourage participation, staff involvement, a hydration station and more. The program launched in the S Unit to accommodate the hospital’s surgical population, which tends to benefit the most from early and frequent ambulation. The team hopes to bring the program to other units in the coming months.
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