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What does it mean to #EndPJParalysis?

What does it mean to #EndPJParalysis?

#EndPJParalysis is a national campaign with the aim of encouraging patient movement in hospital. The campaign encourages movement to reduce immobility, muscle deconditioning, protect cognitive function, improve social interaction, and preserve dignity.

On the 10th & 11th of July 2024, a global summit will be held to encourage awareness and discussion around the topic of mobility and preventing harm. Individuals and organisations are invited to join the membership to learn more. You can do that here.

Let’s learn more about the facts on deconditioning in hospital, the physical and mental effects, and how we can encourage mobility in patients.


The effects of deconditioning

Deconditioning is something that happens with a prolonged period of bed rest. A patient who has had surgery, or is recovering from an injury usually requires some form of bed rest. However, a lack of physical activity and movement over a long period of time can cause additional health problems.

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The definition of deconditioning is “condition of physiological, psychological and functional decline that occurs as a result of complex physical changes.”

Inactivity when in hospital is associated with a 5 times greater risk of needing to move to a care home when discharged, and a 48% increase in needing help with daily activities one month after discharge.

The End PJ Paralysis campaign aims to encourage education and support around deconditioning, to ensure that patients are able to live a full and rich life, and improve their outcomes.

Though older adults are more vulnerable to the effects of immobility, it is an issue that can affect anyone. Prolonged periods of immobility can cause:

  • Loss of functional ability
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Weakness and muscle loss
  • Constipation and malnutrition
  • Reduced circulation
  • Lack of independence, confidence and quality of life


What can patients do to End PJ Paralysis?

pj paralysis

Movement is important for everyone, but even more so for those who spend more time in bed due to their health, injury, or recovery. An article on the impact of PJ Paralysis tells us that “in acute settings, older adults have been shown to spend 97% of their day sitting or lying down.”  This can have a significant impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.

Getting up and moving can reduce the length of a patient’s hospital stay, and this is particularly important for those over 80 years old. At this age, a patient can expect to lose 10% of their muscle mass for every 10 days they spend in hospital!

There are some small ways that patients can be more active, and encourage a quicker recovery. Some examples include:

  • Starting with slow and simple movements in bed
  • Get up and sit in a chair when you have visitors
  • Leave your room and go for a walk at your own pace
  • Eat your meals outside of your bed
  • Get yourself dressed if possible (this also encourages confidence and a sense of self)
  • Learn some simple exercises you can do sitting or standing
  • Wear comfortable well-fitting shoes to encourage stability


Positive outcomes of patient movement

An article by the NHS highlights the outcomes of a fantastic initiative that took place between 2021 and 2022. 178 teams took part in the (de)Conditioning Games across health and social care in the East of England. This was to promote activity among the inpatient population, encouraging safe physical activity.

Some positive outcomes included:

  • A reduction in falls at Northampton General Hospital and care homes across Essex
  • Improved nutritional care in the neuro unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
  • In their older people wards, Luton and Dunstable and Cambridge University hospitals reported improved confidence, with no increase in care needs on discharge and improved mental wellbeing and improved mobility.

An study by the NIHR suggests that encouraging mobility in medical patients can reduce the average length of a hospital stay by two days for an older person who has been admitted for medical treatment. Not only are there obvious physical benefits to getting up and moving, but the mental benefits can be significant.

Exercise and general movement can reduce anxiety and depression. Joining an exercise related club can improve social interaction and help to combat loneliness, and the increased physical activity encourages better sleep.


Learn more about #EndPJParalysis

There are tons of excellent resources available from the campaign, including printable posters, facts, and suggestions to aid in encouraging inpatient movement and mobility. Below are links to useful resources.

#EndPJParalysis | NHS | Recondition the nation | Why does #EndPJParalysis matter? Video |

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