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Welsh CNO declares support for campaign to ‘end PJ paralysis’

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A major campaign to get NHS staff to encourage patients to change from their pyjamas into clothes and get up and moving around is being supported by the most senior nurse in Wales.

Chief nursing officer for Wales Professor Jean White has today called on all health and care organisations in the country to take part in the campaign to end so-called “pyjama paralysis”.

The idea was originally started in 2016 by Professor Brian Dolan and encourages patients to get up, dressed and moving while in hospital, as previously reported by Nursing Times.

It is intended to help prevent the complications of being immobile, including chest infections and muscle degeneration – as well as shifting patient’s perceptions from “I’m sick’ to ‘I’m getting better”.

However, a new drive to draw attention to the idea is set to be launched next week, with the support of senior nurses.

The #EndPJParalysis 70-day challenge aims to achieve one million patient days of relevant patients being dressed in day clothes and moving around, over a 70-day period.

“This simple change can have a hugely positive effect on a patient both mentally and physically”

Jean White

It relates to one million patient days rather than one million patients, as it covers the duration of a patient’s time in a hospital or care home.

The challenge, which can be done in any healthcare setting where pyjamas are usually worn, will run from 17 April until 26 June in a number of organisations across the UK to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

In addition, the campaign’s website will also show how each hospital, ward and participating country is doing during the challenge.

As previously reported by Nursing Times, the national initiative was formally launched on 7 March 2018 by Professor Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, at her annual summit.

Those behind the campaign cite evidence that 60% of immobile patients have no clinical reason that requires bed rest, and that 10 days of bed rest could lead to up to 10 years’ worth of muscle mass loss in patients over 80 years old.

Meanwhile, Morriston Hospital in Swansea launched its own campaign, called Get up and Go!, last year to help patients and their families understand why staff were encouraging patients to get out of bed and dressed while still on the ward.

For example, it highlights benefits such as reductions in length of stay, loss of mobility, deconditioning and falls risk, food wastage and need for institutional care on discharge, while also enhancing the wellbeing of patients and staff.

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Morriston Hospital

Morriston Hospital is one of the largest in Wales and has around 750 beds.

Visiting the hospital today, Professor White said: “Speaking to some of the patients here, I’ve been able to see the benefits that simply getting out of bed and getting dressed has to offer in terms of recovery.

“Patients, in general, prefer to be at home rather than in hospital, and research suggests that too much bed rest could do more harm than good,” she said. “So by being active, patients keep up their strength and aid recovery so they can go home more quickly.

“It’s refreshing to have seen so many active patients moving around the ward today. This simple change can have a hugely positive effect on a patient both mentally and physically,” she said.

She added: “I encourage all health and care organisations in Wales to take part in the #EndPJparalysis campaign.”

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