• implementation;
  • inactivity;
  • intervention;
  • stroke

Aims and objectives.  To study how patients with acute stroke spend their day and to determine whether activity levels of patients with acute stroke in a Dutch university hospital increase after the implementation of interventions to stimulate activity.

Background.  Previous studies suggest that patients with acute stroke are prone to inactivity. Early mobilisation and increasing levels of activities are part of several guidelines for patients with stroke. However, implementing interventions to increase activity levels is difficult owing to time and money constrains.

Design.  This study used a descriptive pre/postdesign.

Methods.  Outcomes is assessed on three levels: location, other people involved and activity, and it is determined by direct non-participant observation. An intervention was implemented to stimulate activity levels of the patients. This intervention consisted of (1) increasing the group therapy session and (2) providing a therapy guide that includes exercises patients can do by themselves or together with nurses, therapists or their family to stimulate the patients to be more active.

Results.  In total, 66 patients have been observed: 35 during the first and 31 during the second observation periods. Compared with the first observation period, patients in the second observation period spent less time in their room and spent less time lying in bed (49 vs. 29%). They did spend more time sitting in bed (13% vs. 20%) and sitting supported (14% vs. 24%).

Conclusion.  Simple interventions can lead to less inactivity in patients with acute stroke. Nurses should be highly involved in implementing and stimulating these interventions. Also, family can play an important role in reducing inactivity in patients after stroke.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Nurses can play an important role in increasing activity levels of patients by using simple interventions.