Provider Resources

Early Ambulation

Welcome to the MSSIC Early Ambulation toolkit.  The early ambulation of patients after surgery has been demonstrated as a best practice in published literature and research.  MSSIC data shows that early ambulation has a significant impact on reducing the occurrence of urinary retention and readmission.  Additionally, we know that early ambulation after surgery promotes blood flow and oxygenation, reduces the risk of VTE, promotes wound healing, improves the function of gastrointestinal and pulmonary functions, increases tone and strength, improves appetite, and even improves mental well-being.   Additional research has also indicated that patients that practice early and frequent ambulation tend to be discharged sooner.

Recent literature review of ERAS protocols, specific for spine surgery, all strongly support early ambulation as defined within hours of surgery stop time.  The ERAS for spine surgery pathways all include early ambulation no later than 8 hours after surgery, and most within 4 to 6 hours after surgery.  Each MSSIC site is encouraged to assess the current state at their institution, perform root cause analysis, and take into consideration their unique patient population and unique site culture when developing an action plan.  Our hope is that the following tools and resources will assist you in that process.


The following resources are publication articles describing how to practically implement an Early Ambulation program.

Shared Site Resources

Attached are tools and resources that have been graciously shared by other MSSIC sites.  You may use them to assist in the development of your own site tools.