Long-Term Care

Benefits of Ambulation-Part I

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, September 15, 2005

Ambulation provides a range of physical and mental benefits to residents, who vary in the degree of assistance they require. Some residents are able to ambulate by themselves, some need assistance from CNAs, and some require assistive devices such as gait belts, canes, and walkers. CNAs should always make the resident's safety their number one priority. Before you ambulate a resident, you should bear in mind the following:

  • The number of staff members required to assist
  • The type of assistive device, if one is required
  • The distance the resident is to ambulate
  • The resident's normal pulse rate
  • Any possible problems you might encounter

Benefits of ambulation

  • It helps strengthen the muscles, especially those of the abdomen and legs
  • It helps joint flexibility, especially that of the hips, knees, and ankles
  • It stimulates circulation, which helps prevent phlebitis and the development of stroke-causing clots
  • It helps prevent constipation because the movement of the abdominal muscles stimulates the intestinal tract
  • It helps prevent osteoporosis due to the mineral loss from the bones when they do not bear weight
  • It stimulates the appetite
  • It helps prevent urinary incontinence and infection-when residents are able to go to the bathroom on their own, incontinence is reduced
  • It relieves pressure on the body and skin, helping to prevent pressure ulcers
  • It improves self-esteem and the resident's feelings of independence
  • It improves the resident's ability to socialize

In next week's LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, we will examine what CNAs must do before, during, and after assisting a resident with ambulation, including the use of devices.

Most Popular