Activity in the Chronically Critically Ill

Publication Title

Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing

Publication Date


Document Type



activity, ICU, critically ill patients, actigraphy, chronically ill patients


Critical Care Nursing


Although therapeutic activity prevents functional decline and reduces mortality, little is known about typical levels of activity among intensive care unit (ICU) patients. This report of a preliminary study describes typical therapeutic activity and compares the use of two measures of activity in a small sample of chronically critically ill adults. Type, frequency, and duration of therapeutic activity were measured simultaneously with direct observation and actigraphy. The only consistent activity documented was turning (frequency: 3 turns/8 hours; duration: mean average of 11 minutes). Analysis demonstrated acceptable agreement between the two measures of activity for both frequency and duration of therapeutic but not for type of activity. Congruence between measures for duration of activity was also supported. This study provides information for investigators and practitioners who are interested in measuring or implementing therapeutic activity in selected critically ill adults.