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The Chief Nursing Officer for England backs a new campaign to get patients out of their pyjamas and up and out of bed:
Many of you will have seen or heard about an article I wrote which was published in the Daily Telegraph in December.
The focus of the piece was to highlight how nursing, midwifery and care staff have a significant role to play in transforming the provision and delivery of care across different settings.
While Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are still at different stages and are sometimes controversial, it is important that clinicians including nursing, midwifery and care staff continue to help shape these moving forward. There are many things that we encounter on a daily basis that could improve patient outcomes by simply changing what we do and how we think.
Leading Change, Adding Value, a framework for nursing, midwifery and care staff was published in May 2016 and enables nursing, midwifery and care staff to make changes to deliver the triple aim, identified in the Five Year Forward View, resulting in better outcomes and experiences for patients, as well as making better use of resources.
One idea that is starting to go viral on social media is #EndPJparalysis, a campaign led by NHS-trained nurse, Brian Dolan, Director of Service Improvement at Canterbury District Health Board in New Zealand. And it is something that I am passionate about as a nurse – making small changes to improve patient outcomes.
The campaign focuses on encouraging patients in hospitals, where possible, to stop wearing their pyjamas or hospital gown when they don’t need to. Why? Because wearing pyjamas for many patients reinforces the ‘sick role’ and can prevent a speedier recovery.
Obviously the patient and their condition need to be taken into consideration and this idea cannot apply to every single in-patient, however for many, it’s a matter of enabling them to get up, get dressed and get moving.
We know that for every 10 days of bed-rest in hospital, the equivalent of 10 years of muscle ageing occurs in people over 80-years old, and building this muscle strength back up takes twice as long as it does to deteriorate. One week of bedrest equates to 10% loss in strength, and for an older person who is at threshold strength for climbing the stairs at home, getting out of bed or even standing up from the toilet, a 10% loss of strength may make the difference between dependence and independence.
We also know that this is the case for every patient in hospital, irrespective of their age. No matter how old a patient is, they will lose muscle strength during their stay, albeit at different levels, so it really is in the interests of our patients to help them be as mobile as possible.
Ensuring patients get into their own clothes not only helps them to recover more quickly and changes how they are viewed by staff and the patient’s family, it also has benefits for staff on the front line. It can help to build system capacity by improving patient flow, enabling more timely discharges, reducing the patient’s length of stay, and enable more timely admissions for other patients.
By getting patients into their own clothes and building their strength, as well as improving their mental outlook on the reason for their stay, it enhances the mental wellbeing of patients as they are encouraged to take greater responsibility for their own health and become active participants in their personal health journey.
In one of Brian’s latest blogs, he calls for us all to help patients get better quicker or help their final days be special and as normal as they can be. Patients should wear their own clothes unless it’s for reasons of clinical appropriateness rather than organisational culture. In Brian’s words, “Patients’ time is sacred and there needs to be no needless waiting, no needless harm, and no needless suffering.”
It’s not just patients and nursing, midwifery and care staff who should be aware of this campaign. Dr Amit Arora from Royal Stoke University Hospital says that there is sometimes a misconception by families that staff should be doing everything for their loved one simply because they are in hospital. Educating relatives and carers is just as important to ensure that they encourage their relative, friend or person they care for to get dressed and move about.
Brian’s campaign has already started to encourage behaviour change in a number of Trusts across the country, as well as other health organisations across the world.
Ann-Marie Riley, Deputy Chief Nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals, is one of our nurse leaders who has truly recognised the benefit of the campaign for patients. Nurses across the Trust have embraced the principles of the campaign to help build patient confidence and are working hard to embed the principles into every day practice.
As CNO for England, I would encourage you all to do the same and you can find out more about what Nottingham University Hospitals are doing by following Ann-Marie on Twitter @AnnMarieRiley10.
Over the coming weeks, a number of videos will be published to demonstrate the impact of this campaign for both patients and staff. I will be supporting the #EndPJparalysis, campaign and national organisations such as NHS Improvement, the Royal College of Nursing and key charities to ensure the campaign actively supports and encourages nursing, midwifery and care staff to improve outcomes for our patients.
Watch this space and, in the meantime, follow Brian Dolan on twitter @BrianwDolan.