An Early Mobilization Protocol Successfully Delivers More and Earlier Therapy to Acute Stroke Patients Academic Article uri icon


  • The optimal physical therapy dose in acute stroke care is unknown. The authors hypothesized that physical therapy would be significantly different between treatment arms in a trial of very early and frequent mobilization (VEM) and that immobility-related adverse events would be associated with therapy dose.This study was a single-blind, multicenter, randomized control trial. Patients admitted to a stroke unit <24 hours of stroke randomized to standard care (SC) or intervention, SC plus additional early out-of-bed therapy (VEM). Timing, amount, and type of therapy recorded throughout the trial. Adverse events were recorded to 3 months.A total of 71 patients (SC n = 33, VEM n = 38) received 788 therapy sessions in the first 2 weeks of stroke. Schedule (hours to first mobilization, dose per day, frequency and session duration) and nature (percentage out-of-bed activity) of therapy differed significantly between groups (P ≤ .001 for all components). Mobilization was earlier, happened on average 3 times per day in those receiving VEM, with the proportion of out-of-bed activity double in VEM session (median SC 42.5%, VEM 85.5%). SC consisted of 17 minutes of occupational and physiotherapy per day and was the same between groups. Number of immobility-related adverse events 3 months poststroke was not associated with therapy dose or frequency.The authors detailed usual care and intervention therapy provided to patients from admission to 14 days after stroke. The therapy schedule was markedly different in the intervention arm, but whether this schedule reduces complications or improves outcome is unknown.


  • Wijeratne, Tissa
  • van Wijk, Renske
  • Cumming, Toby
  • Churilov, Leonid
  • Donnan, Geoffrey
  • Bernhardt, Julie

publication date

  • January 2012