Nottingham Hospitals’ pyjama plan gets Worldwide attention

A simple idea from Nottingham nurses to use a patient’s wardrobe to help them recover and leave hospital sooner is turning into an international movement.

Staff at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH), which manages Queen’s Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital, started discussing what they could do to value patient time and looked at the benefits of encouraging and helping patients to get up and dressed as early as possible when in hospital.

It led to the launch of the PJ paralysis campaign, which highlights the impact of patients being left in pyjamas or hospital gowns for any longer than necessary. It has been embraced by frontline staff at Nottingham’s hospitals, across the UK and even internationally – reaching hundreds of thousands of people on Twitter.

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Anne-Marie Riley, Deputy Chief Nurse (Operations) at NUH, who has championed the campaign alongside Dr Brian Dolan, an honorary Professor of Healthcare at the University of Salford and members of the Emergency Care Intensive Support team, said encouraging and helping patients to get dressed was shown to have real benefits.

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She 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, fitness and strength, 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.”

Staff have created leaflets and posters highlighting the benefits to colleagues, patients and relatives. They have also been helping patients keep active by getting them together for group mealtimes and activities and minimising the use of commodes.

They have even created a Clothes Bank for those who don’t have clothes to wear and the stroke team at Nottingham City Hospital have also been involved.

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Anne-Marie said she was thrilled by the way the initiative had gathered momentum and interest in just a matter of months.

She said: “The teams leading this vital work are just amazing and speak so passionately about the work they are doing. Every role, including students and volunteers, has the opportunity to promote patients maintaining optimal functionality and it is so amazing watching how staff are finding their own ways to do this.

“There are no targets – this is about staff using their professional judgement and doing what is best for patients.”

Caroline Wise, Matron at NUH, said: “I have to say – this is one of many initiatives at NUH that are driven from the shop floor.

“All staff have embraced the change and when I say all staff I mean all staff – from housekeepers and discharge co-ordinators to occupational therapist, physio teams, cleaners, nurses and healthcare care assistants.”

PJ Paralysis has also won a huge following online and internationally. Healthcare professionals from Canada, New Zealand and other countries have been in touch to find out more about the campaign to roll it out in their own areas.

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A Twitter chat on the subject proved hugely popular and #endpjparalysis has generated over 9 million impressions since the start of the year with Chief Nursing Officer for England Jane Cummings has written about the work.

Plans are now in place to hold an international #endpjparalysis day in April.

Anne-Marie said: “The response has been brilliant and I think that’s because it is such a simple thing to do but really does help patients have a more comfortable stay and also return home more quickly which is where they want to be. In turn, this helps to free up beds more quickly for new patients to minimise waits in our Emergency Department.

“Anything we can do to help to improve the timeliness of emergency patient care and experience and reduce discharge delays is time well spent.”