Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is launching a new initiative to improve patient safety and experience across wards.
Staff will be encouraging patients who may have a cognitive impairment such as confusion, delirium, or dementia to wear purple slipper socks in order to ensure they are easily identifiable as being a potentially more vulnerable patient.
This is especially important for those patients who are mobile and could leave the ward, get lost and potentially get themselves into harm. The idea of the purple socks is that these patients will then be easily identifiable and thus be able to be approached and stopped before they leave the ward area.
The campaign, titled Purple 4 Purpose for Cognitive Impairment Awareness ties in with the national End PJ Paralysis campaign which promotes making an additional effort to ensure that our patients get up and out of bed whilst they are in hospital.
These simple actions can prevent deconditioning and loss of independence, and reduce length of stay in hospital. Evidence shows that for patients over the age of 80; a week in bed can cause 10 years’ worth of muscle ageing and muscle loss.
For those patients who aren’t able to get out of bed, sitting up (if safe and appropriate) can have benefits too. Because staff are already encouraging patients to get dressed and out of their PJ’s; they are able to ask patients to use the purple slipper socks too.
Kelly Gates and Nicky Ward are both Nursing Assistant Practitioners for ward 24 at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals who came up with this idea and will be leading the implementation of this initiative.
Kelly said: “This is a brilliant initiative, which will take place throughout the month of May; but we will continue to implement this after the month ends. It is important to keep the momentum going in campaigns like this which just put focus on what we should already be doing in our day to day life. We hope that the purple socks will be adopted throughout the hospital to improve patient safety, and experience.”