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Best Hospital Chairs for Early Mobilisation

What is Early Mobilisation?

Mobilising the patient as early as possible is essential to help their body recover from intensive treatment, and prevent patient deconditioning, a process where the muscle mass and physical strength of the patient starts to deteriorate.

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The Importance of Early Mobilisation

Early mobilisation of patients is a critical priority for hospitals in their quest to reduce waiting lists and improve discharge times.

Pyjama Paralysis

At the end of 2022, there were 30% more patients medically fit to be discharged than the previous year. This issue of bed blocking (or ‘pyjama paralysis’ as it is commonly known in hospitals) leaves patients at greater risk of picking up HAIs (Hospital Acquired Infections) and contracting pressure injuries, weakening their health further and prolonging their stay in hospital.

In a previous article we looked in detail at the issue of deconditioning, a factor that contributes to delayed discharge in acute and general wards. Deconditioning can occur quickly in ICUs and HDUs when patients are immobile for longer periods of time. A reduction in muscle mass and bone mineral density can occur, causing older patients to lose up to 1kg of muscle mass per 10 days of bedrest.

This in turn results in a greater care load for staff, and adds financial burden to the NHS to the tune of £1621 per day for an ICU bed.

Benefits of Early Mobilisation

Early mobilisation can bring a whole host of benefits to hospitals, significantly reducing the length of patient stay. It improves future health outcomes for the patient, and has been proven to reduce care-acquired weakness, which can develop very quickly when patients are immobile for a prolonged period.


How can Seating Improve Mobilisation in Acute Care?

Having the right mechanisms in the chair can take the strain away from staff when helping patients in critical care wards regain their physical strength and movement.

busy intensive care ward

Seating Features to Consider for Early Mobilisation:

Lie-flat functionality

Being able to convert the chair to a horizontal lie-flat position is a really useful feature for fast-paced intensive care wards. It allows fast and efficient transport of the patient without moving or repositioning them, particularly helpful for when the patient has suffered traumatic injuries or is unconscious.

Height adjustment

Easy height adjustment with an electric handset makes care routines easier, raising the chair to the right height to carry out leg exercises or administer treatments/drugs. Helping patients regain their mobility quicker prevents deconditioning and enables faster discharge, increasing the available space on wards.

Easy transfers

When patient starts to regain their mobility, transferring on and off the chair becomes easier by removing the sides of the chair and adjusting to the right height for the transfer surface, making the transfer smoother and minimising moving & handling risks. Stretcher-style positioning makes it easier for staff to move the chair around, and transfer patients between wards or to the hospital garden etc.


Sertain chair

The Sertain features different electric movement functions for easier caregiving.

Sertain HILO Chair for ICU, Intensive Care, and Early Mobilisation

Sertain HILO Chair for ICU, Intensive Care, and Early Mobilisation

Lie-flat functionality

A lie-flat chair can be laid fully flat, enabling quick and safe mobilisation of trauma patients. It also eliminates the need for hoist transfers, as the patient can be pat-slided from the bed to chair and vice versa.

Sertain HILO Chair for ICU, Intensive Care, and Early Mobilisation

Hi-Lo adjustment range of 550-850mm

This helps the nursing staff administer care by moving the chair to the appropriate height for caregiving.

Drop-down sides

Drop down sides give easier access to the patient particularly in emergency situations like CPR, and also assist with transfers.

Sertain HILO Chair for ICU, Intensive Care, and Early Mobilisation


Patient Therapy Chair

The Patient Therapy chair has a range of preset positions for acute care, including:

  • Zero Gravity Product shot of the hospital patient therapy treatment chair in a zero gravity position.
  • Trendelenburg & reverse Trendelenburg (from 30° to -13°) Rehabilitation Chair in a Trendelenburg position.
  • Sit To Stand
  • CPR

Designed to assist rehabilitation, the footplate tucks completely under the chair so there is no obstruction when the patients stands up and sits down. The vertical tilt movement angles the seat base forward whilst lifting the chair, safely moving the patient into a position where is it easy for them to exit the chair. These ergonomic features help the patient get to their feet quicker and mobilise faster.


Mobile Day Surgery Chair

An all-in-one patient transfer and day surgery chair, this stretcher-style chair is easily transportable with ergonomic grips and folding side rails.

The Mobile Day Surgery chair moves easily into a lying position and has a range of positioning options; lie-flat, Trendelenburg, and lateral decubitus.

Product shot of the bariatric ready day surgery chair with lie back & Trendelenburg feature.



The priority in critical care seating is having inbuilt functions that will help the patient mobilise as soon as possible after intensive surgery, and prevent ICU-acquired weakness.

Good infection control features are also paramount to prevent the spread of any infection that could interfere with the patient’s recovery.

If you need a review of your ICU seating, reach out to one of our Acute Care Team today:

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Date Published

12 June 2024

Reading Time

4 minutes

Author avatar


Ralph Hulbert

Ralph has many years' experience in the healthcare sector. In a previous life he worked in finance, and his spreadsheet skills come in handy for all the analysis and research he does as he investigates topics and solutions for some of the world's most complex healthcare conditions and challenges. Aside from writing in-depth articles and organising webinars and interviews with top healthcare professionals, Ralph also administrates Vivid's "Healthcare Pioneers Board", a large group of healthcare specialists with multiple disciplines, who are working together to improve care for years to come.

hospital staff around patient's bed

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