Managing Bariatric Patients

Obesity in England is increasing and it is estimated that 27% of adults in England are obese and a further 36% are overweight.  This equates to 63% of the population being either overweight or obese and 3% of this group will be morbidity obese. We are all aware of the health risks of obesity .

Health Risks of Obesity:

Obesity increased the risk of other health conditions including:

  • Joint Problems
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Endometrial, breast and colon cancer
  • Stress incontinence
  • Menstrual abnormalities
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Respiratory problems

Further information is available from: Public Health England

In providing care for this group of people we also need to be aware of issues around moving and handling to protect ourselves as well as the patient. It has been difficult to locate a policy specifically for primary care but there are some available from secondary care. Please see the link below.

Guidelines for Managing the Care of Bariatric Patients in Hospital:  If you feel that this is an issue in your practice you may want to consider adapting this information and creating your own policy.

At the LMC we have taken advice on bariatric patient handling and many Trusts have produced very similar policies. One of the challenges appears to be how a bariatric patient is defined as definitions can vary from someone who weighs 121Kgs to 190Kgs+. The Ambulance service define bariatric patients as those over 28 stone/177kgs so there appears to be no consistency across organisations.

Elaine Tham, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner from The Village Surgery in Dorset has produced a policy that they have kindly agreed for us to upload to our website.

The purpose of this policy is to allow for:

  • Manual handling training of staff that may be involved.
  • Support the provision of seamless care and a safe system of work for bariatric patients.
  • Identify sources of expert advice and support.
  • Optimise the comfort, dignity, and safety and wellbeing of all concerned, through quality assessment, risk assessment, care planning and provision of specialist equipment.
  • Reduce the risks to the patient and staff associated with manual handling.

Please follow this link to access the policy.

Moving and handling – RCN Guidance:

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