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North Cumbria’s hospitals start a 70-day challenge to get patients up and moving

Larch A/B pledging their commitment to #EndPJParalysis

[T]o coincide with the NHS’s 70th birthday this year, the NHS in Cumbria is taking part in a national challenge for staff and families to end ‘PJ paralysis’ by encouraging more patients to get up, dressed and moving.

The national NHS #EndPJParalysis campaign launched last year, and was marked by  staff at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) through pledges of support and turning up to work in their pyjamas to raise awareness. This year, from this week NCUH staff will be taking part in a target-driven initiative as part of the campaign.

This year, NHS England has set wards across the country a “70 day challenge” in order to get as many patients as possible up, dressed, and moving. Staff at north Cumbria’s two main hospitals, the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital, will be using a specially designed app to upload data each day about how many patients are dressed and how many patients are mobile. There will be a competition to see which wards can get the most patients on their feet. NHS England is aiming to capture 1 million patient days nationwide in just 70 days.

In the community hospitals, staff will reaffirm their commitment to helping more patients to get dressed and moving by revisiting pledges from last year and continuing to raise awareness with patients and their families.

The campaign runs from 17 April to 26 June 2018 to finish in time for the NHS 70th anniversary celebrations on 5 July.

The Trusts are using this opportunity to remind the families of patients to bring is fresh clothes wherever possible to make it as easy as possible for staff to help get patients get dressed.

Studies show that –

  • 10 days of bed rest in hospital can lead to the equivalent of 10 years ageing in the muscles of people over 80
  • Muscle strength can reduce by 2-5 percent in the first 24 hours and up to 10 percent in the first seven days.
  • As much as 60% of immobile older patients have no medical reason that requires complete bed rest

It is also believed that a 50% increase in walking while in hospital can lead to a 6% shorter length of stay.

At the end of the campaign, NCUH will review the results and will be celebrating:

  • The Best Dressed Ward – the ward with the most patients up and dressed
  • The Most Improved Ward – the ward which increases the number of patients dressed
  • The Fittest Ward – the ward with the most patients moving about each day
  • The Most Improved Fit ward – the ward which shown the biggest increase in the number of patients moving each day
  • Best Engagement Ward – the ward which shows the most engagement and innovative ways of getting patients dressed and moving

Barbara Pinguey, specialist physiotherapist at NCUH, said: “Research consistently shows us that it’s in the interest of the patient to get out of bed, out of their pyjamas and moving about as much as they possibly can. This was a very successful campaign last year, and it raised a great deal of awareness. This year, putting the challenge to individual wards to see how improvements change outcomes for patients is a great step, and has already received great support from ward staff.

“Support from families is also hugely important, and as well as asking families to ensure they provide plenty of clothing, we are asking them to get behind us on this campaign to get their loved one recovered as quickly as possible.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our IT department for ensuring the app was installed and ready for everyone to use, and to remind the public to support us on social media with the hashtag #EndPJParalysis.”

Tracey Porter, community hospital manager at CPFT, added. “We have a great track record of getting patients up and dressed in our community hospitals where they tend to be less acutely unwell. The campaign is a great way of reminding staff, patients and their families of the benefits of getting dressed and moving and what we can all do to help.”

Further information is available from

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