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BRAVE Early Mobility Program

The St. Jude BRAVE (Beginning Restorative Activities Very Early) mobility program helps critically ill patients return to normal activities as soon as possible.

Our team works with patients in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). These children often start to lose muscle after just 2 or 3 days in the PICU. This loss affects their ability to move. It makes it difficult to turn over in bed, sit up, walk, or do their other usual activities. Age, diagnosis, and severity of illness also play a role.

Research shows that keeping children moving shortens their time in the hospital and PICU. Movement also:

  • Lowers a child’s need for breathing support (mechanical ventilation)
  • Reduces a child’s chances of confusion (delirium)
  • Helps children return to regular activities faster

Services we provide

When your child is admitted to the PICU, we will evaluate their ability to move. The planned movement and activities are safe for critically ill patients. These exercises should be started within 48 hours of admission to the PICU. We also include education for patients and families.

Early mobility is more than getting out of bed and walking. The exercises we use may include:

  • Range-of-motion activities
  • Turning over and sitting up in bed
  • Moving an infant into their parents' arms

The mobility activities can improve patients’ outcomes. The BRAVE program can help improve patients’ quality of life and PICU survival rates. We check and document your child’s progress daily.

Your BRAVE mobility team

The St. Jude BRAVE program is led by doctors and nurse practitioners in the ICU. The team includes specially trained staff from other departments, including: