Bed rest

A survey from Australia suggests that the common practice of keeping patients in bed may be not only not helpful, but actually harmful. They reviewed published studies on the effects of bed rest and observed that such medical procedures as lumbar puncture, spinal anesthesia, cardiac catheterization and radiculography did not require extensive bed rest, and may actually increase the risk of complication or adverse effect. Likewise, such things as childbirth labor, heart attack, hepatitis, and acute low back pain might be worsened by extended bed rest.

While illness often makes a person weak, and thus inclined to stay in bed more, care givers should not enforce bed rest on those desiring to be up and moving about. (The Lancet 354:1229-1233, October 9, 1999)
Copyright 1999 Phylis A Austin


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