Physical activity and movement

Physical activity and movement: A guideline for critically ill adults offers 16 recommendations to guide the development of a physical activity and movement (PAM) program for critically ill adult intensive care unit (ICU) patients from the time of admission until discharge.

This guideline is based on three clinical health questions:

  • How can critically ill adult patients in ICU be safely mobilised?
  • What are the strategies for safely mobilising a patient within an adult ICU?
  • What are the barriers to safe mobilisation of patients in an adult ICU?

Published 2017. Next review 2024.

Physical activity and movement: A guideline for critically ill adults


Physical activity and movement: Overview

A description of types of physical activity and movement for critically ill patients

Walking a ventilated patient

Why do physical activity and movement?

Jamie’s Journey

This short film demonstrates how the physiotherapy team at Orange Health Service ICU were able to maintain Jamie's fitness whilst he required ventilation and intubation secondary to severe airway inflammation.

Bloomfield Campus Physiotherapy Department, Orange Health Service, Western NSW Local Health District.


The information on this page is general in nature and cannot reflect individual patient variation. It reflects Australian intensive care practice, which may differ from that in other countries. It is intended as a supplement to the more specific information provided by the doctors and nurses caring for your loved one. ICNSW attests to the accuracy of the information contained here but takes no responsibility for how it may apply to an individual patient. Please refer to the full disclaimer.