A Liverpool hospital has launched a campaign to encourage patients to get dressed, get up and get moving.
The campaign is designed to help patients, where they are able, to maintain physical activity while they are in hospital, which has been shown to aid recovery and help elderly patients maintain their independence.
Staff at Aintree University Hospital will be supporting patients to get changed out of their pyjamas, as research shows that being dressed in nightwear is a barrier to patients remaining active while in hospital.
The physical deterioration that occurs in sedentary patients is known as deconditioning or “pyjama paralysis” among medical professionals and the social media campaign seeks to #endPJparalysis.
It has been shown that 65% of elderly patients lose muscle strength after two days of hospitalisation and, for people over 80 years old, every 10 days of bed rest in hospital equates to 10 years of muscle ageing.
Lisa Roberts, Clinical Business Manager at Aintree, said: “Staying active is not only good for your physical strength, which is important in recovering from illness or injury, but moving about also helps maintain a healthy appetite, is good for your breathing, reduces your risk of pressure ulcers and lifts your mood.
“You don’t have to spend too long in bed to notice some significant physical changes, particularly with elderly patients. Not using your muscles during bed rest leads to a loss of strength at a rate of around 12% a week.
“We often see patients get into their pyjamas and then they’re reluctant to get out of bed again unless they absolutely have to, which is why we’re supporting patients to get dressed. Psychologically it makes a huge difference – pyjamas are associated with rest and relaxation after all.”
Friends and relatives of patients are being encouraged to support the initiative by bringing in shoes, slippers, day clothes, hearing aids, glasses and walking aids to help patients maintain as normal a routine as possible while in hospital.
Four simple steps to staying active in hospital are:
- Sit up for all meals, either on a chair or at the edge of the bed
- Sit up in a chair, especially when visitors call in
- Walk around the ward, either alone or with help
- Do gentle exercises throughout the day, even in a bed or chair
Sarah Reynolds, Physiotherapist at Aintree University Hospital, helps an older patient go for a walk