Getting up and dressed is best says King’s Lynn matron

A King’s Lynn matron is promoting the importance of getting up and dressed to patients in order to prevent them losing basic life skills due to Deconditioning Syndrome.

Matron Pamela Chapman is hoping to encourage more patients at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital to sit up in a chair rather than lie in bed to prevent further health complications.

Deconditioning Syndrome is a serious issue affecting older people, who can lose the ability to do everyday tasks, such as feeding themselves, as a result of prolonged periods of inactivity.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is joining forces with colleagues in hospitals across the Eastern Region on the #EndPJParalysis #Powerof1000 challenge. The aim of the 100 day challenge, which was launched on September 14, is to help 100,000 patients and create a sustainable movement to help hospitals during the busy winter months.

The hospital is appealing to relatives and carers to ensure that patients have a supply of clean clothes and suitable footwear to ensure they can get out of bed to retain their mobility.

Pamela, who has a passion for elderly care and has worked in A&E for 17 years, said: “We are keen to get people to move away from the ‘bed rest is best’ school of thought. Getting up and dressed is best for a patient’s physical and psychological wellbeing.

“People feel most vulnerable when they are sat there in their nightclothes but if you are in your own clothes, it is like a suit of armour and you are more likely to engage with the people around you.

“Clothing is also a way of showing the world who you are as an individual and it is also a reflection of how you feel. Preserving dignity and respecting the patient as an individual is an essential part of providing holistic care to our patients.  We are all aware that if you are unwell, sometimes you do feel better once you have got up and dressed.”

While Deconditioning Syndrome can happen at any age, it primarily affects older people.

Evidence has shown that 10 days in hospital is the equivalent of 10 years of ageing in muscles for people over the age of 80. Once lost, it can take twice the time to get that muscle strength back but it may never return.

The loss of muscle strength can result in an increased risk in falls, reliance on incontinence products and the ability to do basic everyday tasks.

The deconditioning process can start as early as the first 24 hours in hospital when patients can lose up to 5 percent of their muscle mass.

Up to 65 per cent of older people can experience a decline in their mobility during hospitalization.

Since the #End PJParalysis #Powerof1000 campaign started, the QEH has seen more than 550 patients encouraged to get out of bed and dressed.

Pamela, who looks after Windsor and Oxborough wards, said: “We have great passion on the wards at the QEH for this and it is not just the nurses, with doctors, physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists getting behind it.

“On my wards, we are encouraging patients to engage with each other by playing board and card games. This is making a big difference to their wellbeing as well as the staff, who find it incredibly rewarding.

“I am proud to be a nurse and a huge advocate for providing high quality care to older patients and I think this initiative is part of the holistic packages of care we offer here at the Queen Elizabeth.”

                                              —ENDS—

 Pictured: Matron Pamela Chapman who is promoting the benefits of getting up and dressed to patients at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital

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