Nurses at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn are helping patients retain their independence with new ways of working
- Credit: Archant
Deconditioning Syndrome is an important issue facing older patients, who can lose the ability to do everyday tasks as a result of prolonged periods of inactivity.
Now nurses are encouraging patients, where appropriate, to take those first steps on the road to recovery by getting out of bed, getting dressed and to start moving.
Families and carers are able to help by bringing in a fresh supply of clothing and supportive footwear.
Chief executive Dorothy Hosein is appealing for support by ensuring that patients have a constant supply of suitable clothing.
She said: 'This hospital is on a mission to provide the highest possible standard of care for our patients so it is unacceptable for any older person to lose the ability to do a simple everyday task.
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'Our nursing teams are doing their utmost to ensure that this doesn't happen by encouraging patients to get out of bed, where possible.
'But we can't win this fight alone. We need the support of families and carers to ensure that our patients have a supply of clean clothes while they are in hospital.
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'A simple thing such as getting dressed and sitting in a chair can make a big difference to a patient's physical and mental well-being.'
Deconditioning syndrome is often caused by inactivity and can result in falls, incontinence and psychological dependence.
Recent studies have also shown that 10 days in bed can lead to 10 years of ageing in the muscles of people over the age of 80.
Once lost, it can take longer to regain that strength and mobility.
To help tackle this, patients are being asked to eat their meals in a chair rather than sitting in bed.
They are also being encouraged to wash and dress themselves independently. Medically fit patients can also be picked up by friends and family from the discharge lounge.
The hospital is also working closely with colleagues in social care and community health to ensure that people are adequately supported once they have been discharged from hospital.
Emma Hardwick, director of nursing at the hospital, added: 'By encouraging patients to wear their own clothes and get out of bed can have a tremendous impact.
'They will not only feel more comfortable but it will also help them to retain mobility and prepare them for going home.'