If you look good, you feel good. It’s an old adage with some real truth to it, which is why health practitioners all over the world are using it as a technique to help their patients heal.
The social movement called “end PJ paralysis” encourages hospital staff to get patients out of their hospital gowns or pajamas and into their everyday clothes while they receive care.
According to research, patients are more inclined to get up and move and contribute more to their self-care when they are not in hospital gowns or pajamas. They also spend less time in hospital because they’re more likely to get out of bed and walk in the hallways on their own, speeding their recovery. The increased activity in hospital also reduces the risk of falling for patients who are senior or elderly, as they spend less time in bed and more time becoming steadier on their feet.
It’s a model that will soon be adopted at the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current in the New Year.
Curtis Newton, a physiotherapist at Cypress hospital, is leading the charge on this project. He originally got the idea when he saw a tweet referencing #EndPJParalysis.
“I follow Dr. Jenny Basran from Saskatoon on Twitter, and she tweeted about it one day. I found it so interesting; I chose it as my project for the Continuous Quality Improvement Program,” Newton says.
Curtis Newton, right, discussing patient baseline data with his colleagues Nicole Vance, nursing co-ordinator and Rocky Penner, therapy assistant. There are eight members of the working group in total.
Newton is trialling the program for 90 days starting on March 1, 2019. He’s already begun assembling a working group and collecting clothes for patients who have been admitted after an emergency where they were unable to pack their own.
“When we implement this program, it will be optional, but our health care staff will encourage it at every step they can, whether at the pre-admission clinic or surgery, or the emergency room, or after patients are admitted. It can be suggested at any time, really,” Newton says.
Currently, the working group is establishing baseline data to compare the difference when the challenge is complete.
“We’re tracking how many people are wearing their clothes, how many people are up and moving and how many people are admitted. We will follow that trend and then March 1, we will see what happens with the program. We will look at length of stay data, as well as falls numbers,” Newton notes.
According to Newton, Alberta Health Services has been implementing this program in several different hospitals this year.
“It’s really spreading,” he says of the #EndPJParalysis movement. “I’ve seen testimonials from patients in the United Kingdom, where this first began, who have said things like, ‘Getting dressed makes me feel less sorry for myself’ and ‘Pajamas say you’re unwell, clothes say you’re getting better’.”
Newton said it may even have a positive effect for clinicians.
“When you see a patient in a gown, in a hospital, often times they don’t look well. Then a few days after, we see them in their regular clothes and they look good.”
Newton and the working group are also brainstorming other ways they can offer patients the opportunity to move more.
“Maybe it’s playing music in the atrium or maybe something more structured, we’re looking at several ideas.”
For more information about ending PJ paralysis, visit