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Membership Matters

Trust joins campaign to end ‘Pyjama Paralysis’

Staff came to work wearing their pyjamas today (26 April 2018), as part of a national NHS campaign to help raise awareness of deconditioning while in hospital.

The #EndPJparalysis campaign aims to encourage hospital patients to ditch their pyjamas and get moving, to enable them to get back to their own homes earlier.

Many older people who spend more time in a hospital bed find that they may find they are no longer be able to live independently, or feel they can take part in their usual activities. The campaign helps people stay more active in hospital, so that they can retain their core strength and stability - and continue to live their lives with friends and family when they return home.

The campaign which was launched nationally on Tuesday 17 April, will run for 70 days until Tuesday 26 June, to mark 2018 as the 70th anniversary year of the NHS.

Staff on hospital wards are using a smartphone app to record how many patients are dressed and active in their day clothes and mobile at 12 noon each day from 17 April to 26 June.

As part of the 70 day challenge, hospital staff wore their pyjamas to work with the aim of showing staff what it's like when they have to wear pyjamas whilst in hospital, often feeling vulnerable and uncomfortable. The day also raised awareness of the health benefits of getting dressed, out of bed and being as active as possible whilst in hospital.

Vicky Mulvana-Tuohy, Head of AHP Services, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust explained: “Bedbound patients lose 1-5% of their muscle strength every day they are in bed and they can develop skin breakdown, pressure sores, confusion and fatigue. Many patients lose the ability to carry out routine daily functions like bathing, dressing, getting out of bed and walking, due to unnecessary bed rest.

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“For an older person, a loss of muscle strength can make the difference between dependence and independence. Every 10 days of bed-rest in hospital is the equivalent of 10 years of muscle ageing for elderly patients.

“For many, wearing pyjamas reinforces being sick and can prevent recovery. Enabling patients to get into their own clothes is one way of encouraging them to take greater responsibility for their own health and become active participants in their personal health journey.

“One of the most valuable resources is a patient’s time and getting people up and dressed is a vital step in ensuring that they do not spend any longer than is clinically necessary in hospital.”

Sonia Archer, Occupational Therapist, York Hospital added: “There's sometimes an assumption that when you’re in hospital you should be in your pyjamas or nightwear all the time - but that’s just not the case.

“We’d love to see more patients get up, get dressed and keep moving while they are in hospital since it has been proven that getting patients out of bed and mobile as soon as they are well enough can reduce the length of time they spend in hospital - and importantly aids a speedier recovery.

“Patients who get themselves dressed and up and about tell us that they feel much better and many are able to go home sooner too, which is fantastic.”

Beverley Geary, Chief Nurse, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our priority is to help our patients get well and back on their feet as soon as possible. Patients do not want to spend any longer in hospital than is absolutely necessary so it is vital that our teams of nurses, therapists, doctors and support staff do everything they can to encourage and facilitate patients to get out of bed and get dressed.

“Patients, their relatives, friends and carers can help us by ensuring that their loved one comes into hospital with clothing and footwear, as well as their pyjamas.”

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