MOVING & THINKING

 
 

MOVING & THINKING

Getting patients dressed for success – #EndPJparalysis

Getting patients dressed for success – #EndPJparalysis Getting patients dressed for success – #EndPJparalysis

SCIENCE
INTO LIFESTYLE

LIFESTYLE
INTO SCIENCE

sevenstones-strapline-master

Getting patients dressed for success – #EndPJparalysis

An easy intervention that could protect hospital patients from harm, accelerate recovery and free up much-needed NHS bed space… and it’s as simple as an outfit change. Sounds too good to be true? That’s the thinking behind the #EndPJparalysis campaign, which aims to get inpatients out of their nightwear, up from bed, and on the road to recovery.

Staying in bed might seem like a sensible way regain your strength after a procedure, but too much rest can actually end up causing problems of its own. In fact, one study of older people found that just a few days of immobility can cause rapid declines in important physical factors like muscle strength and aerobic capacity.1

What’s more, being stuck in bed can leave patients feeling powerless, low on confidence and very dependent on their carers – making it even harder to get back to everyday life.2

Getting these patients back into their regular clothes is a really simple way to overcome the so-called “PJ paralysis” – encouraging them to get up out of bed, spend their time moving around the ward and helping them feel more normal.3

The #EndPJparalysis campaign began on Twitter back in 2016, but the focus has steadily grown, and it’s been proven to make a difference in practice. A trial run in one orthopaedic unit cut falls and injuries, and even helped patients get home sooner.3

The initiative has now been backed by Professor Jane Cummings, the country’s top nurse. It’s being promoted nationwide with the help of an app to track progress around the country as the campaigners push for 1,000,000 patient days spent up and about in time for the 70th anniversary of the NHS on the 5th July.

So while it might seem simple, just getting patients dressed can be a crucial step to help them get back on their feet, get moving, and get back home.

  1. Kortebein P et al. J Gerontol Med Sci 2008; 63(10): 1076-81.
  2. Oliver D. Brit Med J 2017; 357: j2096.
  3. #EndPJparalysis: Everything you need to know to take part. http://www.endpjparalysis.com/resources1 Accessed April 2018.

Back to the finish – the Hampton Court Half Marathon

Back to the finish – the Hampton Court Half Marathon Back to the finish – the Hampton Court Half Marathon

SCIENCE
INTO LIFESTYLE

LIFESTYLE
INTO SCIENCE

sevenstones-strapline-master

Back to the finish
The Hampton Court Half Marathon

On a frosty February morning, exactly one year ago, I set off running at the start of the 2017 Hampton Court Half Marathon along with six colleagues. It had been four years since I’d done any proper running, so I’d made the effort to train, coached some reluctant muscles, and was reasonably confident of making the distance (albeit slowly). However, due to the silly mistake of forgetting to eat breakfast or take any sustenance whatsoever with me on the run, I became dizzy and on the verge of fainting with about 2 miles still to go. Slightly panicked, and with painful knees and quads, I abandoned the run, and limped back to the event base to find some food.

And so at work on Monday there were six (not seven) medals proudly displayed, stories told and, of course, some light-hearted ‘banter’ about where the heck I’d disappeared to. The training had taken about 100 hours out of the previous three months and all I’d achieved was some very sore joints and a feeling of failure. Given such a bad experience, I promptly gave up running again – it had always been about suffering and perseverance and at the age of 53 it could only get worse. So that was that, tried it again, didn’t like it. I’d stick to cycling thank you.

One evening eight months later I was leaving work and about to start my usual cycle home when I found my front tyre had punctured. Given that I already had my gym kit on, and I only lived 3 miles away, I thought I’d be adventurous and try a little jog-walk-jog – it would be quicker than waiting for the bus anyway. Much to my surprise, no walking was needed, and I ran the whole 3 miles feeling positively bouncy. It was almost (whisper it) enjoyable. A few days later on another jog home, it felt the same. And so I began wondering how far I could run before the suffering began.

Right on cue, as though it had been lurking in my inbox waiting for the right moment, came an email inviting me to sign up for the Hampton Court Half Marathon 2018. Based on little real evidence and a poor memory of pain, I signed up again. This time though, it would be different. This time there would be more training, more stretching, more rolling. I would cross the line gloriously, win the t-shirt and finally add my medal to the class of ’17.

The reality, however, didn’t completely live up to my ambition. Although my long runs steadily advanced from 4 miles to 10, anything beyond that involved stiffness and pain. I used sprints, tempo runs, cross training and enjoyed all of it, but going the full 13.1 miles still seemed a long way off. Three weeks before the event I developed sore and niggling knee joints which only responded to massage therapy from our wonderful in-house Chief Exercise Officer. With two days to go I finally felt optimistic again but had missed a fair chunk of training.

That couldn’t be helped though, I was on the start line and determined to make it round. And sure enough, after 10 miles of enjoyment, 2 miles of discomfort and 1.1 miles of hobbled limping aided by jelly babies from a kind spectator, I made it across the line. I had finally earned my medal, 1 year, 2 hours and 20 minutes after my colleagues.

Tour de (gale)force – a week on the wild and windy moors

Tour de (gale)force – a week on the wild and windy moors Tour de (gale)force – a week on the wild and windy moors

SCIENCE
INTO LIFESTYLE

LIFESTYLE
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sevenstones-strapline-master

Tour de (gale)force
A week on the wild and windy moors

The idea was: wait until the wettest, darkest and coldest part of the year, take a sleeper train to a distant corner of the country and then cycle home. Didn’t say it was a great idea, but I like the occasional cycle trek, and I hadn’t been anywhere for 3 months. So, after being awoken at 6.30 by a microwaved bacon roll, I wedge my clothes and kit into my panniers and greet a gloomy Saturday morning in Penzance, a few miles from Land’s End. Ahead of me is 370 miles of track and trail back home to London.

The reason why many cyclists attempt the renowned LEJOG (Land’s End to John O’Groats) route from south to north is to follow the prevailing wind direction in the UK. But not this week… no, this week the 30 mph winds are going in exactly the wrong direction. However, I batten down the hatches and set off along National Cycle Route 3, passing St. Michael’s Mount as the sun rises behind it and snap my best pictures of the trip.

The first destination is the picturesque port of Padstow on the north Cornwall coast. Despite the breeze, the sun is up and cycling along the back lanes of Cornwall brings warmth, adrenalin and a satisfying sense of adventure. I’ve cycled in Cornwall and Devon a lot, but somehow, I always forget just how hilly it is, especially with three bags of clothes, tools and snacks adding to the gravitational drag. As always, when I get home, I’ll realise that I could have managed with about half of it.

After 55 miles battling into a headwind, the B&B in Padstow is a welcome sight, as is the authentically enormous Cornish pasty that will end up sustaining me for the next two days. But weather conditions aside, this isn’t an overly arduous trip. I’ll only cover about 50-55 miles per day, I’m not camping (it is January after all) and my evenings involve Guinness and a variety of pies. Nevertheless my MyZone app tells me I’m going through about 4,000 extra calories per day, so a big breakfast is definitely required.

The rest of the week’s cycling follows the same pattern: breakfast, pack, cycle for three hours, stop for coffee and cake, cycle for three more hours, relax, eat, sleep. The weather changes as frequently as the landscape: from the windy hills and valleys of Cornwall to the thick fog of a stark-looking Exmoor to the beautiful and sunny flatlands around Glastonbury and Wells. The last couple of days across middle England along the Thames Valley are nice and flat – but also much less picturesque or traffic-free.

It’s almost impossible to feel angry or stressed from the saddle of a bicycle; the self-sufficiency of travelling through a country this way lets you detach yourself from the 21st century for a while. For me, the great enjoyment of cycle touring is the basic idea of reaching a far-off destination under my own steam, going slowly enough to appreciate the journey whilst still being physically challenging. And at the end of the day, any activity that allows you to eat six consecutive full English breakfasts and come home weighing 3 kg less can’t be too bad, whatever the weather is doing.