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Hospital trust rejects media claims it has ‘banned’ daytime pyjamas as part of national drive

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A London trust and its nursing director have found themselves at the centre of unwanted publicity, after it was widely reported they had “banned” patients from wearing pyjamas during the day.

It was also reported that relatives had been asked to take clothes home for washing “at the end of the day” and get dressed in a new outfit “every day”, as well as helping them get ready each morning.

“We haven’t banned pyjamas, we aren’t asking family and friends to pick up dirty clothes at the end of the day”

Trust spokeswoman

Several national newspapers focused stories on the Whittington Health NHS Trust, following local media coverage of its participation in the #EndPJParalysis campaign that began last week.

A spokeswoman for the trust said the “inaccuracies” had originated in a story by the Camden New Journal, that had subsequently also appeared in the Daily Mail and The Times – most of which have now updated the online versions of their articles to remove the word “ban” from headlines.

The trust spokeswoman said: “We haven’t banned pyjamas, we aren’t asking family and friends to pick up dirty clothes at the end of the day and we aren’t asking patients to get dressed in a new outfit every day.

“This is about encouraging patients who are able to do so to wear their own clothes and move around a bit, so as not to lose strength through extended bed rest if it isn’t necessary,” she told Nursing Times. “All hospitals have been asked to support NHS England’s national campaign.”

“Getting dressed makes it more likely that our patients will get out of bed and move around”

Michelle Johnson

The trust’s original press release said it was appealing for support from people coming to visit families and friends in hospital to help #EndPJParalysis, as part of the national 70-day campaign.

It said staff at the Whittington Hospital in Archway were pledging to help patients get dressed in their own clothes and spend more time out of bed while they were in hospital.

As a result, it said it was encouraging visitors to help boost patient recovery by “taking home clothes that need a wash and bringing in fresh clothing so that patients have clean clothes to wear”.

“They can also help with hair or make-up, or helping them to walk around the ward or hospital more,” said the trust in its release.

The North London acute service provider also highlighted that patients who were unable to get out of bed could still be encouraged to “live as normally as possible” while in hospital.

For example, it noted that putting on even a single piece of their own clothing, such as a cardigan, or helping them to have a shave could help patients to “start to reconnect with life outside hospital”.

“#EndPJparalysis is not about forcing patients out of bed – it aims to prevent avoidable deterioration”

Ann-Marie Riley

Trust chief nurse Michelle Johnson said: “One week of bed rest can make a patient 10% weaker, which can be the difference between dependence and independence for our older patients.

“Getting dressed makes it more likely that our patients will get out of bed and move around, meaning that they will regain strength and can go home sooner,” she noted.

“To do this, patients need support from their loved ones – family and friends can help by taking home clothes that need a wash and bringing in fresh outfits,” she said. “This is a way that everyone – staff, family and friends – can come together to help patients get back to their own homes faster.”

As previously reported, the 70-day national #EndPJParalysis campaign, aimed at achieving one million patient days of relevant patients being up, dressed and mobilising, began on 17 April.

NHS England, which is running the national campaign, has cited benefits from the introduction of the initiative on a trauma and orthopaedic ward at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Benefits included a 37% reduction in falls, 86% reduction in pressure injuries, 80% reduction in patient complaints and that a spot audit had shown a reduction in length of stay of 1.5 days.

Ann-Marie Riley, deputy chief nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals, told Nursing Times she was “sad” at the way the initiative had been reported in a way that suggested it involved “top-down directives”.

“#EndPJparalysis is not about forcing patients out of bed – it aims to prevent avoidable deterioration in their long-term health,” she said in an expert opinion piece written for Nursing Times.

Meanwhile, NHS England’s chief nursing officer Professor Jane Cummings has written a blog in support of the campaign.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The nhs cannot do everything patients and families need to work with staff to get their loved ones home fitter and healthier in a timely manner. Families are only asked to do what they would if their relative was at home. They would not lay in bed or sit all day in PJ at home. As patients, relatives and staff all have a part to play in ensuring patients don’t become disabled and reconditioned.

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