Early Mobilization in a PICU: A Qualitative Sustainability Analysis of PICU Up!∗

Ruchit V. Patel, Juliana Redivo, Archana Nelliot, Michelle N. Eakin, Beth Wieczorek, Julie Quinn, Ayse P. Gurses, Michele C. Balas, Dale M. Needham, Sapna R. Kudchadkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: To identify staff-reported factors and perceptions that influenced implementation and sustainability of an early mobilization program (PICU Up!) in the PICU. Design: A qualitative study using semistructured phone interviews to characterize interprofessional staff perspectives of the PICU Up! program. Following data saturation, thematic analysis was performed on interview transcripts. Setting: Tertiary-care PICU in the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD. Subjects: Interprofessional PICU staff. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: Fifty-two staff members involved in PICU mobilization across multiple disciplines were interviewed. Three constructs emerged that reflected the different stages of PICU Up! program execution: 1) factors influencing the implementation process, 2) staff perceptions of PICU Up!, and 3) improvements in program integration. Themes were developed within these constructs, addressing facilitators for PICU Up! implementation, cultural changes for unitwide integration, positive impressions toward early mobility, barriers to program sustainability, and refinements for more robust staff and family engagement. Conclusions: Three years after implementation, PICU Up! remains well-received by staff, positively influencing role satisfaction and PICU team dynamics. Furthermore, patients and family members are perceived to be enthusiastic about mobility efforts, driving staff support. Through an ongoing focus on stakeholder buy-in, interprofessional engagement, and bundled care to promote mobility, the program has become part of the culture in the Johns Hopkins Hospital PICU. However, several barriers remain that prevent consistent execution of early mobility, including challenges with resource management, sedation decisions, and patient heterogeneity. Characterizing these staff perceptions can facilitate the development of solutions that use institutional strengths to grow and sustain PICU mobility initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E233-E242
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • critical care
  • developmental pediatrics
  • intensive care unit
  • occupational therapy
  • pediatrics
  • physical therapy
  • qualitative research
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Early Mobilization in a PICU: A Qualitative Sustainability Analysis of PICU Up!∗'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this