Therapy and nursing staff from across Sheffield Teaching Hospitals have swapped their uniforms for pyjamas in support of a national 70 day challenge aimed at raising awareness of the importance of supporting hospital patients to get up, dressed, moving and back in their own clothes while still in a hospital environment.
Research shows that 10 days of bed rest in hospital can age muscles by the equivalent of ten years in people over 80.
The EndPJParalysis campaign is a national drive launched by Professor Jane Cummings,
chief nursing officer for England, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Clinical teams across the country are being challenged to achieve the equivalent of 1 million patient days of people being up, dressed and moving in their own clothes during a 70-day period. The campaign will finish on 5 July to mark the NHS’ 70th birthday.
A recent pilot scheme showed that the EndPJParalysis initiative reduced falls, shortened hospital stays and decreased the amount of ongoing help and care patients need in other settings following discharge.
During the challenge staff from across Sheffield's five adult hospitals will be encouraging patients to get up and back into their normal routine when clinically appropriate to boost their recovery and promote independence.
They will be collecting data to see how many patients are up, out of bed and dressed at 12pm every day of the challenge and they will also be collecting how many patients have walked to the toilet, taken a shower or walked around the bed to encourage mobilisation whilst in hospital.
Natalie Jones, head of occupational therapy at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is about giving people who are feeling better the choice to get dressed to preserve dignity and independence, and supporting patients to get up, dressed and back into their normal clothes when they are clinically able can make all the difference for those that have a fine balance between independence and dependence, helping them to get back into everyday routines and activities of daily living, such as walking the stairs and going to the toilet.
“Families and carers can also play an important role in boosting independence, so if you have an elderly relative or friend in hospital, please bring in their own day clothes and toiletries as these really do encourage earlier mobilisation and facilitate greater independence. As well as making patients feel more comfortable, getting dressed and up in their own clothes is more dignified, and moving more helps increase patients’ appetite to eat and drink better while in hospital.”
Rachel Smith, head of physiotherapy at the Trust, added: “The aim of the 70 day challenge is to raise awareness to all staff, patients, relatives and carers of the effects of bed rest and immobility on the muscle strength of patients. Patients undergo muscle deconditioning very quickly and to maintain and support patients to get out of bed and progress walking during their recovery period is important. For some patients this may make the difference to them being able to return to their own homes after a period of acute illness.”
The campaign was also welcomed by Professor Dame Hilary Chapman, chief nurse of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals: “We are delighted to be supporting the national EndPJParalysis campaign. This is an important initiative and here at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals we’ve taken a whole team approach, with nursing, medical and therapy colleagues coming together to prevent deconditioning of patients in hospital. It’s also fantastic to see the campaign being supported by our volunteers, who are helping to provide clothing for patients who don’t bring any to hospital with them.”
John Mosley, 75, who was admitted to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital after suffering a brain lesion a few weeks ago, said the campaign was a great comfort to him: "I've been doing fell walking, climbing and running all my life, and am used to being independent. I got out of my PJs and in my trousers the other day and it made me feel much more normal."