Give Hospital Patients Clothes and They Recover Faster
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Patients can recover if they can resume normality, a health campaign urges.
A new campaign from the NHS is prompting hospital staff to encourage patients to get up and change out of hospital gowns as soon as they are able to move around. Can we all agree, that in America, the butt-less gowns need to go?
The idea is that by bringing them closer to their regular routine, patients will gain the confidence they need to return home. In addition, keeping them upright and walking is intended to reduce the loss of mobility from a lengthy hospital stay and reduce associated problems such as pressure sores, all of which delay recovery.
For elderly patients, ten days of bed rest in hospital equates to ten years of muscle ageing, according to doctors – which could make the difference in simple activities such as getting out of bed or using the toilet unaided.
The real motivation for the campaign, however, seems to be freeing up bed space.
The report adds,
At a time when parts of the NHS are under unprecedented pressure to free up bed space, the initiative has caught on rapidly via social media, with staff dressing in pyjamas or hospital gowns to highlight the campaign. Currently around 7,000 NHS patients are stuck in hospital because they are well enough to go home but their social care needs cannot be met.
‘Bed-blocking’ helped cause record A&E delays this winter, with almost 300,000 patients waiting for more than four hours in casualty in January across England. The clothing initiative, dubbed ‘endPJparalysis’ on Twitter, was dreamt up by nurses in Nottingham and quickly won executive support. It began with staff at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages Queen’s Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital, discussing the benefits of getting patients up and dressed.
Anne-Marie Riley, deputy chief nurse at the trust, said:
PJ Paralysis is a really simple idea, but it has a big benefit for patients.
We know that if patients stay in their pyjamas or gowns for longer than they need to, they have a higher risk of infection, lose mobility…and stay in hospital longer.
But if we can help patients get back to their normal routine as quickly as possible, including getting dressed, we can support a quicker recovery, help patients maintain their independence and help get them home sooner.’ She said staff were being encouraged to use their professional judgment to identify patients who were ready to get up and about, saying early evidence suggested they were being discharged sooner.
This helps to free up beds more quickly.
In the U.S., I hear way more complaints of people being dejected from hospitals than being compelled to stay.
Could the U.S. benefit from this change?
The U.S. could benefit from more beds….and a little more dignity. Nurses are so overworked and understaffed that volunteers are needed to rock unwanted babies to sleep.
The U.S. could benefit from a lot of changes in the healthcare system – complete hydrotherapy, if you will.
Last year, it was found that one hospital saw greater recovery rates from chef-made fresh food – you don’t say! Nursing homes and schools have benefited breaking out of the system of terrible food and a bleak, punishing atmosphere – what could it hurt!
One thing’s clear – anyone stumbling into the healthcare system needs to maintain their sense of power and identity. While there are so many caring people in the profession, the medical system unfortunately can act authoritative and ominous – creating patients that may feel weak or victimized and confused instead of empowered. We applaud any step toward keeping someone’s honor, power and dignity versus having them feel like leeches taking up bed space.