Perceived Barriers to Early Patient Mobilization Among Therapy Versus Non-Therapy Providers

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting. San Antonio, TX. 2022. Blue ribbon award for Social Responsibility, by Global Health SIG


washington; spokane; montana; missoula; polson; psph



Early mobilization plays a critical role in the recovery of hospitalized patients. However, perceived barriers to patient mobilization impede clinicians from appropriately implementing mobility interventions. The purpose of this study was to determine whether perceived barriers to patient mobilization differed among therapy versus non-therapy staff.

Number of Subjects:

A total of 625 clinicians from 8 different hospitals in two states within the United States were included in the analysis. Clinicians were categorized as therapy providers (physical or occupational therapists; n=71) or non-therapy providers (registered nurses, nurse assistants, or prescribers; n=554).

Materials and Methods:

Subjects reported perceived barriers to early patient mobilization by completing the valid and reliable Patient Mobilization: Attitudes and Beliefs Survey (PMABS), which consists of 3 distinct subscales: knowledge, attitude, and behavior. The PMABS contains 25 statements to which subjects respond to a 5-point Likert scale for each statement (“strongly agree,” “agree,” “neutral,” “disagree,” or “strongly disagree”). Chi-squared tests for independence were conducted on each survey statement to determine whether therapy vs non-therapy providers responded differently to each survey item. Independent t-tests were conducted to determine whether there were differences between therapy vs non-therapy providers in total scores and each of the 3 subscale scores, with higher scores indicating greater barriers to patient mobilization.


The PMABS total scores were higher among non-therapy providers (38.52 ± 0.45) than therapy providers (24.63 ± 0.79), and differences were statistically significant (p


Results suggest that there are significant differences between therapy and non-therapy providers regarding perceived barriers to early patient mobilization. Non-therapy providers perceived greater barriers than therapy providers in their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors associated with patient mobilization.

Clinical Relevance:

Physical and occupational therapists reported less perceived barriers to early mobilization of hospitalized patients compared to registered nurses, nurse assistants, and prescribers involved in direct patient care. Findings suggest an opportunity for therapy providers to educate and collaborate with non-therapy providers to facilitate safe, consistent patient mobilization activities. Future work is needed to determine and integrate evidence-based interventions for healthcare providers to reduce perceived barriers in attitude, knowledge, and behaviors towards early patient mobilization in hospital settings.




Physical Therapy