The Broons join 'braw' initiative to help Scots recover after hospital stays

The Broons were drafted in by NHS Lanarkshire to star in a specially written comic strip to support the Home First initiative.

The Broons join braw new NHS Lanarkshire initiative to combat ‘loss of confidence’ after long hospital stays Supplied

One of Scotland’s most-loved families has been recruited to join a new NHS initiative to help people recover after long hospital stays.

The Broons were drafted in by NHS Lanarkshire to star in a specially written comic strip to support the Home First initiative.

Home First aims to ensure that people can be cared for at home, or as close to home as possible, and prevent avoidable admissions as well as supporting timely discharge for patients.

Among the content created is a story about Granpaw Broon being in hospital after some over-energetic dancing, and how keeping active puts a smile back on his face.

Peter McCrossan, NHS Lanarkshire’s director for allied health professionals, said the household favourites will be a “valuable” addition to their Home First efforts.

“If a patient has to be admitted to hospital the Active Wards approach promotes an ethos of staying as mentally and physically active as possible throughout their stay – and also how best to continue to do this when discharged home.”

He added that the initative will combat combat “deconditioning, loss of confidence and a feeling of reduced independence” which can occur during long hospital stays.

“It’s great to have the Broons on board and patients in Lanarkshire will be able to read about the family’s own experiences very soon,” he said.

The new collection of comic strips aims to make information accessible and easy for all ages to consume and aims to highlight the importance of movement and engaging in meaningful activity during and after a stay in hospital.

Community partners including the voluntary sector will also be able to use the materials as part of their vital work.

A joint statement from Professors Soumen Sengupta and Ross McGuffie, chief officers of the area’s respective South and North University Health and Social Care Partnerships, said: “The Broons have long-personified themes of community, looking out for each other and neighbourly spirit.

“In reality, everyone does have a part to play in preventing ill health, from issues such as falls and helping to support activity and recovery.

“Family, unpaid carers, staff and communities all working together has a really valuable role to play.

“There are well established links across Lanarkshire and we look forward to our partnership with The Broons to help build on that.”

The Broons are well known for their love of slippers (or baffies) and following a hospital procedure, whether routine or not, historically advice had been given for the prescription of bed rest, fuelled by the idea that this will help your body heal.

Whilst that might fix someone’s acute illness, infection or injury when they come into hospital, extended periods of inactivity can make an overall situation worse. This can happen to anyone, but the biggest impact is often in older people.

NHS Lanarkshire’s Nicola O’Donnell, a physiotherapist who is part of the Active wards steering group said:

“The reality is that, if this stasis lasts three weeks, for older people strength and physical function can reduce by the same amount as aging 30 years. Just one week of inactivity could lead to a loss of 1.5kg of muscle mass.

“Two days and your ability to walk independently could decline. The phenomenon is sometimes referred to as ‘PJ paralysis’.

“Performing simple exercises and continuing functional tasks where able can significantly reduce these risks and help patients keep their mobility and independence.”

In older patients, poor muscle strength, and balance are some of the most common risk factors for falls which can lead to injuries like hip fractures, longer hospital stays or social care intervention.

As well as addressing recovery, the specially-commissioned cartoons will focus on prevention, including how remaining active and taking simple safety steps can avoid falls.

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