Singapore Institute of Technology
PSH 2022_Physiotherpy Practice Pattern in the Adult Intensive Care Units of Singapore A Multi Centre Survey.pdf (1.24 MB)

Physiotherapy Practice Pattern in the Adult Intensive Care Units of Singapore – A Multi-Centre Survey

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-30, 09:34 authored by Gabriel Wai Mun Ou, Marcus Jun Hui Ng, Li Whye Cindy NgLi Whye Cindy Ng, Hwee Kuan OngHwee Kuan Ong, Balachandran Jayachandran, Vimal Palanichamy


The roles of physiotherapy in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) have significantly developed from the traditional management of respiratory conditions to early rehabilitation and mobilisation of patients on mechanical ventilation. Surveys of United Kingdom, Australia and regional ICU physiotherapy practice have been published but there are no local data sets. This study aims to report the physiotherapy practices across the adult ICUs of Singapore.


Twenty-nine item questionnaire was mailed to 90 physiotherapists working in 15 adult ICUs across restructured and private hospitals in Singapore. Data sets were summarised from the returned questionnaires. This includes identifying common physiotherapy techniques and exercise prescription protocols for both mechanically and non-mechanically ventilated patients in the ICU.


A total of 63 (70%) questionnaires were returned. The most used physiotherapy interventions were airway secretion clearance, techniques to improve lung ventilation and mobilisation out of bed. Positioning was most used respiratory technique (60/61, 98%). Sitting on the edge of bed is the most preferred physical activity for ICU patients (43/44, 98%). Exercise was routinely prescribed (50/61, 83%) although only a minority (8/50, 16%) have established exercise prescription protocols. For mechanically ventilated patients, active/active assisted exercises were most used (40/44, 91%). 12% of ICU use either Chelsea Critical Care Physical Assessment Tool or the Functional Status Score for the Intensive Care Unit as routine outcome measures.


Airway clearance was stated as the most used physiotherapy technique. Exercise is routinely prescribed in ICU. Validated outcome measures are only used by few.


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Proceedings of Singapore Healthcare

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