The OT Innovation
Studies have shown that adults who are ambulatory before a hospital admission spend up to 83% of their time lying down once in the hospital, and more than a third of adults 70 years and older are discharged from the hospital with a major new disability that was not present on admission. Mobilizing patients safely and consistently is not only a challenge during inpatient care but it’s also an important element in sustaining their progress.
Teresa Boynton, an OTR from Colorado, recognized the need for a mobility assessment tool that nurses could use to determine patients’ current mobility status and to help standardize safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) equipment use, especially patient lifts. She met and networked with nurses from different hospitals to help develop, and later pilot, her idea. The outcome: the Bedside Mobility Assessment Tool (BMAT) 1.0 and BMAT 2.0.
With the BMAT, Teresa and her team aimed to improve outcomes by safely mobilizing patients early and often to decrease risks associated with immobility and the negative effects of bedrest, including falls. They also wanted to improve safety for care providers by guiding them to use appropriate safe patient handling and mobility practices and equipment in a standardized and consistent manner.
The BMAT 2.0, which takes about two minutes to complete, defines four levels of mobility (Sit and Shake, Stretch, Stand, and Step). Each level has a physical task aimed at assessing a patient’s strength, coordination, balance, tolerance, and ability to follow directions. When patients can perform the task, they advance to the next level; if they cannot, they stay at the current level.