Pa­tients en­cour­aged to trade PJS for day clothes


If you look good, you feel good. It’s an old adage with some real truth to it, which is why health prac­ti­tion­ers all over the world are us­ing it as a tech­nique to help their pa­tients heal.

The so­cial move­ment called “end PJ paral­y­sis” en­cour­ages hospi­tal staff to get pa­tients out of their hospi­tal gowns or pa­ja­mas and into their ev­ery­day clothes while they re­ceive care.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search, pa­tients are more in­clined to get up and move and con­trib­ute more to their self-care when they are not in hospi­tal gowns or pa­ja­mas. They also spend less time in hospi­tal be­cause they’re more likely to get out of bed and walk in the hall­ways on their own, speed­ing their re­cov­ery. The in­creased ac­tiv­ity in hospi­tal also re­duces the risk of fall­ing for pa­tients who are se­nior or el­derly, as they spend less time in bed and more time be­com­ing stead­ier on their feet.

It’s a model that will soon be adopted at the Cy­press Re­gional Hospi­tal in Swift Cur­rent in the New Year.

Cur­tis New­ton, a phys­io­ther­a­pist at Cy­press hospi­tal, is lead­ing the charge on this project. He orig­i­nally got the idea when he saw a tweet ref­er­enc­ing #End­pj­paral­y­sis.

“I fol­low Dr. Jenny Bas­ran from Saska­toon on Twit­ter, and she tweeted about it one day. I found it so in­ter­est­ing; I chose it as my project for the Con­tin­u­ous Qual­ity Im­prove­ment Pro­gram,” New­ton says.

New­ton is tri­alling the pro­gram for 90 days start­ing on March 1, 2019. He’s al­ready be­gun as­sem­bling a work­ing group and col­lect­ing clothes for pa­tients who have been ad­mit­ted af­ter an emer­gency where they were un­able to pack their own.

“When we im­ple­ment this pro­gram, it will be op­tional, but our health care staff will en­cour­age it at ev­ery step they can, whether at the pre-ad­mis­sion clinic or surgery, or the emer­gency room, or af­ter pa­tients are ad­mit­ted. It can be sug­gested at any time, re­ally,” New­ton says.

Cur­rently, the work­ing group is es­tab­lish­ing base­line data to com­pare the dif­fer­ence when the chal­lenge is com­plete.

“We’re track­ing how many peo­ple are wear­ing their clothes, how many peo­ple are up and mov­ing and how many peo­ple are ad­mit­ted. We will fol­low that trend and then March 1, we will see what hap­pens with the pro­gram. We will look at length of stay data, as well as falls num­bers,” New­ton notes.

Ac­cord­ing to New­ton, Al­berta Health Ser­vices has been im­ple­ment­ing this pro­gram in sev­eral dif­fer­ent hos­pi­tals this year.

“It’s re­ally spread­ing,” he says of the #End­pj­paral­y­sis move­ment. “I’ve seen tes­ti­mo­ni­als from pa­tients in the United King­dom, where this first be­gan, who have said things like, ‘Get­ting dressed makes me feel less sorry for my­self’ and ‘Pa­ja­mas say you’re un­well, clothes say you’re get­ting bet­ter’.”

New­ton said it may even have a pos­i­tive ef­fect for clin­i­cians.

“When you see a pa­tient in a gown, in a hospi­tal, of­ten times they don’t look well. Then a few days af­ter, we see them in their reg­u­lar clothes and they look good.”

New­ton and the work­ing group are also brain­storm­ing other ways they can of­fer pa­tients the op­por­tu­nity to move more.

“Maybe it’s play­ing mu­sic in the atrium or maybe some­thing more struc­tured, we’re look­ing at sev­eral ideas.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about end­ing PJ paral­y­sis, visit www.end­pj­paral­y­

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