“The longest journey starts with a single step”

Hugh Ralston from Kilmarnock takes a walk along the ‘Road to recovery’.

As part of NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s End PJ paralysis campaign, staff from University Hospital Crosshouse have come up with some innovative ideas to help patients keep as active as possible while they are in hospital. And the Acute Stroke Unit (ASU) has taken this one step further by transforming a wall into a ‘Road to Recovery’.


Local artist, Frank Carty, has painted dynamic pictures and inspirational messages to motivate patients to get up and about to support early recovery. The ‘Road to Recovery’ was funded by our Hospital Volunteers, with patients, relatives and staff involved at every stage.

Christine Somerville, Senior Charge Nurse for the unit explains: “Stroke often happens with no warning and can result in patients being paralysed and unable to communicate. The quality of recovery improves with specialised care, preventing complications and early mobilisation.


“To encourage people to start walking, we decided to transform an area in our unit to make it more motivational. So with funding from our Hospital Volunteers, we commissioned our ‘Road to Recovery’ wall. Painted with 3D designs of famous Ayrshire landmarks, it has inspirational quotes at each stage starting with a Chinese Proverb from the Tao Te Ching: ‘The longest journey starts with a single step.’


“We want to stimulate patients to walk a little further each day, encourage meaningful discussions, assist with cognitive impairment and really enhance each patient’s experience as they recover.”

When we are unwell, traditionally we put our pyjamas on. There is an assumption that we should go to bed and rest to recover. For some patients, this is necessary for a period of time. Yet when patients stay in bed too long in hospital, they become less able to get up, get washed and dressed and moving. This means they can struggle to get back to normal when they go home. This is called deconditioning.


Recent studies have shown that for some patients, spending 10 days in bed ages their muscles by 10 years. One week of bed rest results in 10 per cent muscle loss. People who stay in pyjamas or gowns for longer than needed have higher risk of infection, lose mobility, fitness and strength.


The End PJ paralysis campaign aims to stop patients staying in bed too long and encourages them to get up, get dressed and keep moving.