BACKGROUND: To improve older patients' physical activity (PA) behavior, it is important to identify facilitators and barriers to enhancing PA in older patients (≥ 65 years) during hospitalization from the perspectives of patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals (HCPs).

METHODS: In this systematic review, a search of PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE, and Web of Science (January 2000-May 2021) was performed, and quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods studies were included. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Identified facilitators and barriers were categorized using the social ecological model at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and institutional levels.

RESULTS: The 48 included articles identified 230 facilitators and 342 barriers. The main facilitators at the intrapersonal level included: knowledge, awareness, and attitudes; interpersonal level: social support, including encouragement and interdisciplinary collaboration; and institutional level: stimulating physical environment, patient activities and schedules, and PA protocols. The main barriers at the intrapersonal level included: physical health status, having lines or drains, patients' fear, and HCPs' safety concerns; interpersonal level: patient-HCP relation and HCPs' unclear roles; and institutional level: lack of space and resources, including time and equipment. Best evidence synthesis provided moderate level of evidence for three barriers: patients' unwillingness or refusal to move, patients having symptoms, and patients having lines or drains. No moderate level of evidence was found for facilitators.

CONCLUSION: The PA behavior of older adults during hospitalization is multidimensional. Our overview highlights facilitators and barriers on multilevel scale (intrapersonal, interpersonal, and institutional levels) that guides patients, caregivers, HCPs, and researchers in future clinical practice, and intervention development and implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number99
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2022


  • aged
  • exercise
  • health personnel
  • length of stay
  • qualitative research
  • social support


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