Much like range of motion, ambulation is very important to the health and well being of residents.  If a resident is on an ambulation program, try your best to complete the ambulation requirement everyday.  We have discussed contractures and how unused muscles can become too tight to move, causing disfigurement of the limbs.  Ambulation is another tool you have in your nurse aide arsenal to combat contractures and loss of range of motion (ROM).

Running with a short staff can cause you to miss an ambulation schedule – but when your unit is full on staffing, there is no excuse to miss any ambulation.  Our job is more than making sure the faces, hands, and behinds of our residents are clean.  We are responsible for taking care of their whole being. How well we do this depends on how devoted we are to our profession.  Do we rush through the day, doing the least amount of work possible just to earn our paycheck or do we give our all to ensure that the residents have a better quality of life?

Simple time management will help you, along with creative ways to work ambulations into your work schedule.  Most aides will take their residents out into the hall and walk with them for a certain length of the hall. Not all ambulation has to be performed this way unless it is specified by the therapy department.

What you can do to work ambulation in with your care is to ambulate your resident from their chair to the toilet, from their bed to their wheelchair, or wheelchair to bed.  Some aides will park a wheelchair at their resident’s room and walk with the resident to the bed. You can measure the distance in steps and add this to your ambulation record.

If you have a resident that refuses to participate in ambulation you should still try to tempt them to do their prescribed walking.  Most facilities have a requirement that residents without dementia can refuse ambulation 3 times, then must sign a form that they refused ambulation in order to protect the aide, nurse, and facility from liability.

What you can do to help get resistive residents to participate is to talk to them about how ambulation can help them stay healthy.  You can ask the unit nurse to talk with the resident as well.  You may not force a resident to participate but you are obligated to ask, every day.