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BRAVE Early Mobility Program

Beginning Restorative Activities Very Early

Launched in September 2019, the St. Jude BRAVE (Beginning Restorative Activities Very Early) mobility program helps critically ill patients return to normal activities as soon as possible.

Patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) often experience muscle loss after only two or three days of immobility.

Early mobility in hospitalized patients has been shown to decrease length of stays in the PICU and the hospital. In addition, early mobility reduces the length of mechanical ventilation, decreases bouts of delirium and speeds recovery for patients to their previous levels of activity.

BRAVE helps to establish a baseline of mobility for each patient upon admission to the PICU. Patients are evaluated daily. Patients’ progress is documented by their medical team. Patients and family members are educated on the early mobility program as part of the plan of care.

What is mobilization?

Early mobility is more than just walking and getting out of bed. It can include range of motion activities, turning over in bed or moving an infant into their parents’ arms. Age, diagnosis and varying degrees of illness can affect mobility. Early mobility exercises should be started with patients within 48 hours of admission.

Mobility is safe for critically ill patients, and it has been shown to improve longer-term functional outcomes. It can also improve quality of life and decrease mortality in the PICU.

BRAVE beginnings

BRAVE started with independent research from health care professionals in critical care and physical therapy. After gaining key insights from John Hopkins and other leading institutions in the field, St. Jude moved forward with the program.

The St. Jude BRAVE program is led by attending physicians in the ICU and nurse practitioners. The effort is a collaboration of specifically trained staff members in some of the following areas: