First Things First: Roles and Responsibilities

How do I recognize a person’s mobility level? There are three different levels of mobility to describe a person’s abilities. Consider their day-to-day activity. The following table can help you match a person’s abilities to the different levels of mobility.

Cannot stand to transfer
from bed
Can stand to transfer
from bed to chair only
Walking
This person is not able to stand up to transfer to a chair. This person is dependent on their caregiver or may use a mechanical lift to get up.This person can stand up and transfer from the bed to a chair with or without some support. This person cannot walk short distances.This person can walk short distances at a minimum with or without a walking aid (e.g. a walker or cane).
Adapted from the Simplified Mobility Assessment Algorithm

Next, set activity goals. How do you encourage this? Activity goals should match the person’s level of mobility and conserve their energy. Work with the person you are caring for to understand their goals and tolerance for activity. It is also important that they enjoy the activity, or they will typically not continue with it. Consider the following tips when supporting a person to set activity goals:

Cannot stand to transfer
from bed
Can stand to transfer
from bed to chair only
Walking
Goal: Aim to use a mechanical lift to get from the bed to a chair or wheelchair three times a day and help reposition in bed every two hours.Goal: Aim to transfer to a chair or wheelchair at least three times each day and for every meal.Goal: Aim to walk a comfortable distance at least three times a day.
Adapted from the Simplified Mobility Assessment Algorithm

What are some additional tips to setting activity goals?

  • Start wherever they are!
  • Speak to a health care professional for personalized recommendations that you can follow. Depending on a person’s health issues, a qualified health care professional can recommend what activities to try and how much activity to do.
  • If the person you care for walks on their own, a goal would be to aim for a minimum of 2.5 hours total activity each week:
    • Encourage an activity they enjoy, that makes them sweat a little bit, breathe a little harder and raises their heart rate.
    • Reaching 2.5 hours does not have to happen all at once! Try for 10-minute segments over the week.
  • If the person you care for is limited in their movements, speak with them about what they can do and what they like to do to stay active. A goal might be to participate in the chosen activity at least twice each week.
  • Remembering to do these activities can sometimes be difficult.  Encourage the person to add these activities to their calendar; it may make it easier to set goals and achieve them.
  • Encourage the person to stay motivated with positive feedback; celebrate the effort made!

 Activity 3.1

Pause and Reflect

What is the mobility level of the person you are caring for? How do you set goals to help the person you are caring for stay active as much as possible? Write your answers down in your Reflection Journal.