A cup of coffee nestled on the bed covers

If you are admitted at KTPH for an acute illness or operation, don’t be surprised if our healthcare professionals get you out of bed as soon as your doctor says it is safe.

“Many patients and relatives think that bed rest is best so patients are reluctant to get out of bed and their relatives reinforce it. On the contrary, too much bed rest actually slows down recovery and can cause complications,” says Ms Chen Ziyan, Occupational Therapist, KTPH.

Such complications include decreased muscle strength and blood flow, pressure sores and constipation. Prolonged bed rest may result in patients losing their ability to dress, shower or use the toilet on their own, leaving them more disabled than when they were first warded.

This loss of independence is known as a hospital-acquired disability. It affects about 3 in 10 older Singaporeans who are hospitalised.

Fear of pain can be an issue, especially after surgery, but patients are given pain relief so they can move comfortably once allowed out of bed by the doctor.

Patients are also supervised by a nurse, physiotherapist or occupational therapist the first few times they get out of bed to ensure they are safe and their tubes and drips don’t get caught or dislodged.

Once patients gain confidence, family members can accompany them as they move around.

“Even small steps such as getting out of bed to sit in a chair to watch television and using the toilet make a difference. The more patients do for themselves, the more independence they retain, and the easier it is for them and their families when they go home,” adds Ms Chen.


Get Moving and Prevent Hospital-Acquired Disabilities

The best way to stay independent when hospitalised is to start moving as soon as your doctor says you are allowed out of bed.

However, if you are wearing a green wristband, you are at risk of falls, so press the call bell and ask the nurse for help when following these advice:

Remember: Always consult your nurses and doctors to confirm whether you are allowed to get out of bed.

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