03 March 2017
PJ push to boost patient care
A simple idea from Nottingham nurses to use a patient's wardrobe
to help them recover and leave hospital sooner is turning into an
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
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
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
"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.
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
"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.
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
"Anything we can do to help to improve the timeliness of
emergency patient care and experience and reduce discharge delays
is time well spent."