When to Use Bariatric Equipment

When it comes to moving and handling more significant weighted people, it can be a considerable health risk to staff and patients. Therefore, bariatric equipment is used and implemented in hospitals, aged care facilities and clinics to help nurses and carers move heavier patients in a timely, safe manner. If you are not using the appropriate bariatric equipment to lift heavier patients, then this can lead to risks for yourself and the patient. Some of the dangers include strains, sprains, musculoskeletal injuries and excessive spinal loading, which is a risk that is associated when handling and moving the heavier patients if you perform them on a daily basis.

Like any substantial risks involved, there needs to be consideration taken into account for both the client’s safety and the safety of each staff member. Therefore special care and attention need to be considered when caring for larger patients.

Bariatric patients tend to face increased health risks than the rest and will end up having complex needs. The key to managing all of the risks around handling and moving bariatric patients is to set up a handling plan when they are admitted and to ensure you use the correct equipment that is for appropriate for them and their health. This may require you to ask many health-related questions so you can guarantee a safe, appropriate outcome.

Many organisations are not equipped to be looking after bariatric patients as they don’t have the correct healthcare equipment. If small facilities don’t have the proper equipment for the needs of a bariatric patient, they may hire the equipment when someone is coming into their care temporarily.

The person who is organising the equipment hiring will need to know as to the different features and a weight capacity of each piece of equipment. Ensuring that all essential information is correct, so accidents and issues don’t arise. 
If the patient is wanting to buy the equipment, they will need to talk with their nurse or doctor that preferably know them personally. This is to ensure that they are purchasing the best material for the tasks that are needing to be done such as; toileting, sleeping, showering, and eating. Patients may be able to get some of this equipment for their home if they feel it is beneficial for them.

Equipment assessment

The bariatric equipment is defined by the weight capacity and the load distribution across the equipment. This places stress upon each component of the equipment like the wheels when they are moving. The new equipment will need to fit through different doorways and into the lifts too.

  • There will be specific equipment needed, and they most likely are
  • Weighing scales that are at floor level but carry the highest available capacity in different spaces but still allow for privacy
  • Motor wheelchairs that have the highest SWL which are used to transport patients within a centre. You will need to consider the size of the chair width
  • Interview chairs that can be wheeled around if they are used in different areas.
  • Bariatric chairs are required in various waiting rooms with their SWL clearly visible
  • Different walking aids that have the capacity for 250-300kg
  • Air assisted transfer devices for lateral and vertical transfers
  • Mobile hoist and ceiling hoist that has been cleared for bariatric patients that needs to allow for bed positioning.
  • An elevator that can lift patients off the floor in case they have suffered a fall
  • Electric bariatric beds that come with a pressure reducing mattresses
  • Slings to be used with these machines
  • Bariatric stretchers

Bariatric equipment is used in many places, such as:

  • Operating theatres
  • Transport
  • Bathing and washing
  • Home care
  • Aged care facilities
  • Activity centres