Nurses’ locational badges used to track patients’ recovery

When someone is recovering from surgery, they’re typically encouraged to go for walks down the hospital hallways. Scientists have now found that by repurposing an existing device, it’s possible to ascertain just how much patients are heeding that advice.

Nurses in many hospitals already wear badges that emit beams of infrared light, which are detected by ceiling-mounted sensors throughout the building. In this way, it’s possible for doctors or other staff to know their location at all times.

Led by Dr. Antony Rosen, a team from The Johns Hopkins Hospital decided to see if that same technology could be used to track the frequency, length and speed of patients’ post-operative walks.

For the study, they used RTLS (real-time location system) badges made by the Midmark Corporation. These were attached to the gowns of 100 patients who consented to take part in the research. The majority of the individuals were male, with an average age of 63.

For the most part, the test subjects were told to leave their rooms and walk the corridors three times a day. In fact, though, the mobility data indicated that only a quarter of them met that quota. What’s more, analysis of that data proved to be over 90 percent accurate at predicting the patients’ 30-day readmission rate, their likelihood to be discharged to their home or a rehabilitation center, and the length of their hospital stay.

A paper on the research, which also involved doctors Peter Searson and Charles Brown, was recently published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

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