HOSPITAL patients in Wales will be encouraged where appropriate to change out of their pyjamas and keep mobile, as part of a UK-wide campaign.

The #EndPJParalysis 70-day challenge aims over a 70-day period to chalk up one million days of relevant patients being dressed in day clothes and moving around.

The challenge begins tomorrow (TUE) and runs until June 26, in a number of health and care organisations across the UK, to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

The challenge relates to one million patient days rather than one million patients, as it covers the duration of a patient’s time in a hospital or care home.

It has been found that 60 per cent of immobile patients had no medical reason that required bed rest, and that 10 days of bed rest could lead to up to 10 years' worth of muscle mass loss in patients over 80 years old.

Participation in such activities has been found to bring benefits such as a reduction in length of stay in hospital, reduced loss of mobility, deconditioning and risk of falls, reduced food wastage due to greater patient mobility and energy need, reduced risk of needing institutional care on discharge, and enhanced wellbeing for patients and staff.

“Patients, in general, prefer to be at home rather than in hospital, and research suggests that too much bed rest could do more harm than good," Professor Jean White, chief nursing officer for Wales.

"So by being active, patients keep up their strength and aid recovery so they can go home more quickly.

"This simple change can have a hugely positive effect on a patient both mentally and physicaly, and I encourage all health and care organisations in Wales to take part in the #EndPJparalysis campaign.”

At home, an older person may walk more than 5,000 steps a day, but in hospital that can easily drop to under 1,000.

Elderly patients in a bed begin to weaken one day after admission, and after just 24 hours of bed rest, two-five per cent of muscle power is lost.

Bed rest contributes to the risk of thrombosis (blood clots), delirium, infection (pneumonia), depression and loss of confidence, constipation, and incontinence.

Impaired mobility is the reason for four out of every 10 care home admissions.