Change in health care

The focus on bed rest for recovery and recuperation is losing its appeal in health and aged care and it’s about time too!

We’ve seen the ‘rapid’ recovery models for all kinds of fracture or replacement treatments (hip/knee) and various surgical interventions. There are more and more articles and evidence on the debilitating effects of ‘bed rest’. So the impact is inescapable.

So why do we need initiatives like the UK health #EndPJParalysis 70-day challenge?

Practice change in health care

The campaign is a unusual response to a failure by the health sector to embrace change. It’s like a kick start to change practice. It’s also an approach for our times – social media campaigns like this speak to a younger engaged population.

Health professionals have known for many years how damaging inactivity is for patients, especially those who are compromised by age or chronic health conditions. Despite this we still see articles like this which seem to treat these findings as a revelation!

So the #EndPJParalysis campaign is a new way of engaging the health and hospital system in making change, because despite all evidence to the contrary they continue to foster a ‘sick’ or ‘hospital’ role for patients.

How? By not actively encouraging them to get up, dressed and participate actively in their care. Yes, I know there will be circumstances where this approach is not practical, but I would argue these will be in the minority. Yet we still don’t do it.

Why do we resist change?

Is it just that we are creatures of habit? Or is there a more complex reason? Why do we fail to take on board new evidence?

A National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence publication on “How to Change Practice” suggests we must examine what makes us resist change.

They identified seven factors which might make us disinclined to change our ways.

  1. Motivation
  2. Acceptance and belief
  3. Skills
  4. Awareness and Knowledge
  5. Skills
  6. Practicalities
  7. Barriers beyond our control

Results of our failure to adopt change?

It seems to me that they missed one important factor – What’s to gain from the failure to change these practices. Well you would have to think power, control and workload management. These are pretty strong motivators to resist change, even if no one is going to own up to them.

Put yourself in the patient’s shoes – when thinking about change

So next time you are sitting around in your PJs think about what it would be like NOT to get out of them for days/weeks/months! How it would affect your perception of yourself and those around you and what would be the first thing you would want to do?

Also you might like to consider putting some fun into your approach to change management. I’ve written about how this might benefit from this approach and some useful resources for you to access. Please read my related blog article on Could Fun be the antidote to change resistance to read more on this theme

Thanks again for reading.