• adverse effects;
  • early ambulation;
  • observation;
  • rehabilitation;
  • stroke

Background Stroke unit care improves the outcome for patients. One component responsible for this may be that patients are mobilised earlier and more intensively. An ongoing randomised controlled trial is investigating the potential benefits of early mobilisation, but currently there is limited evidence for the practice. Therefore, current practices may be driven by historical precedent and/or clinical opinion, and varying approaches to mobilisation are likely. This study aims to examine different health professionals' concerns regarding early mobilisation in acute stroke. In this study, early mobilisation was defined as frequent out of bed activities within the first 24 h after stroke onset.

Methods A nine-item anonymous questionnaire exploring benefits and harms with early mobilisation after stroke was used during interviews of stroke care professionals attending the annual Australasian stroke conference in 2008.

Results The survey was completed by 202 professionals, representing 38% of all conference attendees. Sixty-five per cent were females, 50% under 40-years old, 46% worked in acute stroke and 31% in rehabilitation. Thirty-five per cent were nurses, 26% medical doctors, 19% physiotherapists and 12% occupational therapists. Two-thirds had <10-years experience with stroke. Sixty per cent of the surveyed professionals had concerns about early mobilisation and there were significantly more professionals concerned about early mobilisation for haemorrhagic (59%) than ischaemic (23%) stroke patients.

Conclusion Our study shows that most clinicians had concerns in relation to early mobilisation of stroke patients and more clinicians had concerns for haemorrhagic than for ischaemic stroke. The evidence underlying these concerns is shallow.