Activity Levels of Rehabilitation and Geriatric and Evaluation Management Inpatients

Ms Natasha Selenitsch1, Ms Liz Howe2, Mr Stephen  Gill1

1Barwon Health, Nth Geelong, Australia, 2Deakin University – Occupational Therapy School, Geelong, Australia



Research indicates stroke patients in inpatient rehabilitation spend a large proportion of their time inactive and alone. Little is published about activity levels of other diagnostic groups. We aimed to establish the activity levels, location and people present for three subacute inpatient wards: 1) Neurological, 2) Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) and 3) Mixed Rehabilitation (Ortho/Amputee/General Rehabilitation/Trauma).


Using Janssen et. al. (2014) behavioural mapping protocol, patients on each ward were observed every 15 minutes between 8am and 4.30pm on a single weekday. Their location, people present and activity (physical, social, cognitive), inactive or sleeping was recorded, and analysed using descriptive methods.


Seventy three patients were observed (Neurological = 14, GEM = 31 and Rehabilitation = 28). Time participating in any activity was similar across the three wards (Neurological=77%, GEM=78%, Rehabilitation=78% of observations). Social activity varied the most (Neurological=34%, GEM=31%, Rehabilitation=38%).

People present with the patient differed between wards (Neurological=51%, GEM=42%, Rehabilitation=46%). Time spent inactive and alone was comparable (Neurological=20%, GEM=21%, Rehabilitation=19%).

Neurological patients spent more time outside their rooms (Neurological=30%, GEM=10%, Rehabilitation=13%). GEM patients spent 17% of the time sleeping compared to 9% for the other two wards.


All three wards had similar activity levels, higher than the stroke literature reports.  Patients spent large percentages of time in their rooms. This suggests all subacute inpatients may need encouragement to be active and have the opportunity to experience different locations.


Natasha Selenitsch is a Senior Physiotherapist working in the Inpatient Rehabilitation Neurology Team at the McKellar Center, Barwon Health. She has worked as a Physiotherapist with Neurological clients for the past 17 years. She completed a Masters of Health Science (Stroke Management) through the University of Newcastle in 2012.