Staff at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) is appealing to the families of patients to help keep them active during hospital stays.
Families have been asked to bring a regular supply of comfortable clothing and footwear as part of a national campaign, End PJ Paralysis, in order to prevent patients deconditioning as a result of too much bed rest.
Nick Jenkins, medical director at WSFT, said: “Studies show that 10 days in hospital can lead to the equivalent of 10 years of ageing in the muscles of people over 80. Repairing this muscle wastage by re-conditioning exercises takes double the time the muscles took to deteriorate.
“One week of bed rest leads to a ten per cent reduction in strength, and for an older person who has just enough strength for climbing the stairs at home, getting out of bed or standing up from the toilet, losing the ability to do these simple tasks may make the difference between dependence and independence.”
The trust believes that encouraging patients to get out of bed and dress in their own clothes will promote good mental health as well as accelerate the healing process and prevent the spread of infection.
“Retaining mobility and a level of independence will aid recovery, help reduce a patient’s length of stay in hospital, and support them to return home sooner. Having families on standby to help contribute to the care of their loves ones’ and bringing clothes and toiletries in is simple but invaluable,” said Mr Jenkins.
Dot, a patient with the WSFT, said: “I feel well in myself, and better now I have my own clothes on. More like my own personality. All the nurses looked after me really well.”
The trust will also introduce a Fit to Sit campaign which will stop patient being left to lie on hospital trollies when they are fit to sit up in a chair.