Sufficient space and adequate weight capacity is always in the mind of a larger patient, which can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety in any situation1.
INTERVIEW WITH TRACEY: Finding flexible options in the healthcare facility for bariatric patients
FACT: 13% of the world’s adult population is obese!2
While a hospital stay can be an unnerving experience for all of us, it may be more so for a bariatric person. When faced with a new environment, there is constant uncertainty around even the simple things we all take for granted, such as bathing, toileting and getting in and out of bed. The negative impact on the patient’s wellbeing should not be underestimated.
Can the bariatric patient transition through the hospital with ease? Thinking of movement through and within corridors, treatment rooms, operating theatres, diagnostic departments, lifts and bathrooms.
Bariatric care environment
Is there enough space around the medical bed to accommodate larger equipment such as a wider medical bed, commode, bariatric chair, lifter and extra staff?
Wider medical bed
The ideal hospital bed for a bariatric patient will be wider than standard and may be longer. It will have functionality to assist with supported sitting and repositioning and will be fitted with a mattress that can efficiently manage pressure and moisture to reduce the risk of pressure injuries.
Do caregivers have the space they need to work ergonomically and securely using lift and transfer equipment? Perhaps a ceiling lift could solve some space issues?
It is not unusual for family and friends to also be bariatric – is there sufficient wide seating in clinics, waiting areas, visitor rest rooms and restaurants?
Larger patients deserves the same level of dignity and respect as others. Are your patients reassured from the moment they enter your care? Do you have bariatric solutions and equipment readily available across the facility and does it look similar to that used for all patients?
Planning for change
If you need to build or adapt your healthcare facility to cater for these demographic changes, request access to the Architects and Planners online portal for inspiration, drawings and room layouts.
1Carr T. Consultant at www.fatlotsheknows.co.uk. Quoted in ArjoHuntleigh Guidebook for Architects and Planners, 4th edition. 2014
2World Health Organisation Fact Sheet 311 (2015): http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/