Elderly Mobility Scale: Exploring its Use as a Discharge Planning Tool in Acute Care

Sean McIntosh

Purpose: To assess the value of integrating the Elderly Mobility Scale (EMS) into physiotherapy practice to improve the discharge planning process in one acute care hospital.

Methods: The EMS was used to assess 40 elderly patients who were ready for discharge from acute care. All six physiotherapy staff completed a follow-up survey to identify their perceptions of the benefits of routinely integrating the EMS into discharge assessment. Descriptive statistics were used to examine EMS scores and discharge categories, and survey data.

Findings: EMS scores appeared to be linked with four discharge destination categories (home, home with support, retirement home and nursing home), and declining mobility scores with increasingly more supportive living environments. Staff responded positively to integrating the EMS into routine discharge practices.

Conclusion: Integrating the EMS into discharge assessments was perceived to be one practical way of developing a more comprehensive evidence based approach to discharge planning in physiotherapy.