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Matron urging patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn to end ‘PJ paralysis’

PUBLISHED: 15:37 22 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:37 22 September 2017

Pam Chapman at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Picture: Victoria Fear

Pam Chapman at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Picture: Victoria Fear

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A hospital matron is promoting the importance of getting up and dressed to patients in order to prevent them losing basic life skills due to so-called Deconditioning Syndrome.

Matron Pamela Chapman is hoping to encourage more patients at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn 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 QEH 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 their own clean clothes and suitable footwear to ensure they can get out of bed to retain their mobility.

Mrs Chapman, who has worked in A&E for 17 years, said: “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 5pc of their muscle mass.

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