Join the campaign to end ‘pyjama paralysis’ — a 70 day challenge

At NHS Improvement, our role is to support trusts on their quality improvement journeys. #EndPJParalysis is so inspiring because it is being led by frontline staff.

The concept is a simple one — to get patients out of their hospital beds. The clinical imperatives for doing so are hugely compelling. 

Ruth May, Executive Director of Nursing, NHS Improvement

When NHS-trained nurse Professor Brian Dolan first used the phrase ‘end pyjama paralysis’ on social media, he had no idea of the life it would take on in hospitals, care homes and in conversations among health and care practitioners. In doing so, he originated a genuine social movement in healthcare. Nottingham University Hospitals were one of the first trusts to pick up the mantle via Ann-Marie Riley and colleagues, and others got involved very quickly

The campaign is sparking some simple and innovative practice we can all learn from. For example, Dr Amit Arora, a consultant geriatrician at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, writes up ‘activity prescriptions’ for patients under his care. 

He says:

If you think of someone who is at the threshold of the strength required to get up the stairs, for example, then the kind of muscle loss we are talking about is life-changing.  This is about doing what’s right for patients. Often they’re the biggest advocates for it.

Dr Amit Arora, Consultant Geriatrician, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

The nursing community has really embraced the campaign, which is fantastic to see. While the realities of getting patients dressed and moving are likely to impact disproportionately on nurses’ time, they are also the group who tend to see the immediate positive benefits. 

Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, where Deirdre Fowler is the Director of Nursing, launched its initiative last year, on several medical wards at once. 

She says the enthusiasm with which nurses adopted the approach is inspiring.

What we’ve seen is the different disciplines coming together. Nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, housekeepers, healthcare assistants – they are all driving the change. 

Patients are telling us what it means to them not to have to eat dinner in their pyjamas, or to get out of bed in the afternoon and do some exercise. It’s giving them their dignity back, and preparing them for where they really want to be, which is at home.

Deirdre Fowler, Director of Nursing, Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust

From Tuesday, to help mark the 70th birthday of the NHS, a 70 day #EndPJParalysis challenge will be launched, aiming to save a million days of patients’ time (a ‘patient day’ is defined as every day a patient is up, dressed and moving rather than sitting in pyjamas). 

We’re encouraging all trusts to get involved. Crucially, you can do this whatever your level of engagement with the campaign so far and there are plenty of materials to help you take part.

Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust is now gearing up to take part in the challenge across several wards. Capturing the number of ‘patient days’ saved will be key to success, and nurses play a key role here.

The 70 day challenge is an opportunity to spread those benefits even further, and that’s why we’re so excited to back it. We wish you all the very best of luck with the campaign, and are looking forward to sharing in all your successes on social media.

Find out more about the #EndPJParalysis campaign.

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