For an older person, walking less while in hospital can lead to a decline in mobility.
Even a few days bed rest can cause a rapid decline in muscle strength, known as deconditioning or ‘pyjama paralysis’. This can lead to an increased stay in hospital, as well as possible complications.
MidCentral District Health Board’s Get UP, Get DRESSED, Get MOVING campaign is part of a programme to help ensure older patients receive timely assessment and assistance to maximise their activity levels during their hospital stay, so that they regain and maintain their independence.
It does require a change of mind-set, by both patients and staff - realising that patients staying in bed can lead to a decline in mobility and health.
To enhance recovery, older patients remaining as active and mobile as possible is as important as their medical treatment plan. This is why it is so valuable to get up, dressed and moving.
By maintaining their activity levels, an older patient will be ready to leave the hospital sooner and resume their usual activities and quality of life at home.
Staff arrange an early assessment of a patient’s ability to walk. This may include a nursing or physiotherapist assessment. Staff then collaborate to develop an activity plan, including tasks the patient would normally do at home. Staff will support and encourage you to carry out this plan. This can be as simple as:
- Get UP - to spend less time in the hospital bed, eat meals while sitting in a chair, either in the ward or in the dining room
- Get DRESSED – to get changed from a hospital gown or night clothes into comfortable day clothes
- Get MOVING – to walk to the bathroom and around the ward regularly
To help, patients can ask family/whānau to name and bring them loose-fitting, comfortable clothes, closed-in footwear with a nonslip rubber sole, and any walking aids they use at home, such as a stick or frame.
During visiting hours, patients and their family/whānau are encouraged to make the most of the patient lounges, public areas and gardens - spending part of the visit away from the bedside.
Together, let’s Get UP, Get DRESSED, Get MOVING!