New programme supports patients’ mobility

Activity at RVH

Occupational therapy staff at Royal Victoria Hospital and Ninewells Hospital are encouraging patients to move more as part of a six-month project which aims to increase physical activity of patients.

Members of the occupational therapy team launched their new six-month project which aims to increase physical activity and provide social interaction for patients admitted to wards 5 and 6 at Ninewells Hospital and wards 6 and 8 at Royal Victoria Hospital.

In delivering the programme the team will use the tried and tested principles of the Care about Physical Activity (CAPA) which is a community-based improvement programme led by the Care Inspectorate to help older people be less sedentary and move more often.

The CAPA programme focuses on how activity can be part of a patient’s normal day, where appropriate, and looks at encouraging older people in hospital to walk to the dining room, practice standing up from their chair, take part in seated exercise challenges as well as joining in activity based games.

Simple activities getting up, getting dressed and moving more when you are in hospital can hasten recovery, reduce boredom and can even reduce the length of time an elderly person needs to spend in hospital.

Trish Kiernan Associate Practitioner in Occupational Therapy based Ninewells,said, “This six-month programme brings together staff, patients, their friends and family together to help increase mobility and build activity into a patient’s daily routine whilst they are in hospital.

“There is a lot of research about the wide range of health and wellbeing benefits from physical activity for older people. Research also highlights that there is a steady decline in activity with increasing age and frailty. This is particularly important during hospital admissions when physical activity and independence can be reduced even more.

“This has a huge impact on an older person’s quality of life, where they may, in time, not be able to maintain their independence or carry out simple activities in daily life, such as rising from a chair.

“Occupational therapists work with patients and their families to determine the appropriate level of activity encouraging them, where appropriate, to be as active as they can. The social interaction that these activities bring to patients can be hugely positive.

“To help patients remain as mobile as they can family members can really help by ensuring that elderly relatives have their clothes, glasses, hearing aids and supportive footwear with them when they come into hospital so they can be more comfortable, healthier, happier and active during their hospital stay.”
More information about the CAPA project can be found on the Care Inspectorate website: or by emailing

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