According to the latest figures published by NHS Digital, there were more than one million admissions to NHS hospitals in 2019/20 where obesity was a factor. This is no surprise when you consider the fact that Britain is the most obese nation in Europe, with around 27% of UK adults defined as obese in 2014.
With so many of the lifestyle-driven health problems still increasing at alarming levels, estimates from the World Obesity Federation (WOF) have predicted that the number of UK adults defined as obese will rise to 34% by 2025.
Therefore, it is vital that the care sector is able to look after bariatric patients and residents, equipped with the right type of equipment that can cater for this growing audience and ensures comfort and function are at the forefront. Specialist beds and equipment underpinned with training are very much central to this.
This blog looks at what plus-sized patients require in terms of provisions and how new innovations in bariatric healthcare equipment can help alleviate the pressures that care environments face.
NHS Health Survey
Recorded in 2019, the Health Survey for England (HSE) monitors trends in the nation’s health and care. Its findings revealed a worrying statistic that two-thirds of all adults in the UK are overweight or obese.
One of the most pressing public health challenges in the UK, the obesity crisis has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, brutally exposing the high risk of serious illness and death that those with obesity face.
Now, more than ever, there needs to be a tighter focus on providing suitable care and supervision of overweight and plus-sized individuals.
Lack of bariatric equipment provisions
The term ‘bariatric’ relates to people who weigh more than 25 stone, with bariatric facilities often including larger, reinforced beds and mechanical lifts and hoists.
As hospitals face more pressure to care for the rising number of bariatric patients, paired with the burden of an ageing population, care homes are also struggling to develop the tools to accommodate for an increasingly overweight resident population.
A survey conducted in 2019 of almost 3,000 care homeowners, managers and staff showed that only 41% of homes have the adequate bariatric facilities required to look after plus-sized residents.
Many on the frontline lack the equipment they need to properly manage and care for their larger, older residents, with a further 12% of those surveyed confirming they have turned people away due to a lack of resources and bariatric equipment.
How can we solve the lack of bariatric equipment provisions?
Whether it is a care bed or an overhead hoist system, bariatric equipment is uniquely designed to support overweight individuals, featuring increased weight capacities, heavy duty supports and wider widths to meet their needs.
Not only does it help protect patients and safeguard their dignity, this specialised equipment also protects staff and care workers from strain or injury.
“Where the right product isn’t available at the right time, you’re delaying recovery. Not only does it have a personal impact on the patient, it also increases the cost to the facility.”
During a recent interview with Innova Care Concepts, Bariatric Consultant, Tracey Carr, gave her advice on how care environments can ensure they have the right bariatric equipment provisions:
- Promotes independence – If the patient or resident has limited mobility in any way, shape or form, a care environment needs to have equipment that enables the individual to maintain and hopefully increase their ability to move. For instance, bariatric care beds often tend to be lower in height due to the fact that plus-sized patients usually have extra flesh on the underside of their thighs, requiring a lower mattress platform for comfort. This makes it easier for the individual to climb on and off the bed and it’s closer to the floor.
- Smooth operation – When a plus-sized patient or resident is being cared for with a piece of equipment, they want it to be as quiet and comfortable as possible. As the individual may be sensitive about their weight, they don’t want to feel like the equipment is under any strain when in use. For example, any decent overhead hoist system should also be structurally sound to lift bariatric weights. This means installing the track fixings closer together for extra sturdiness and strength to ensure a smoother patient transfer.
- Easy to use – Any piece of bariatric equipment should be easy to use for staff when caring for patients and residents. As an example, whether it’s by a mobile hoist or double gantry system, the facility to lower heights as and when needed gives carers more room to play with above the patient to ensure that they are being hoisted correctly. Additionally, bariatric beds should have a good amount of space beneath them to allow for mobile hoists to slot into position.
With those key points in mind, we’ll now take a look at how new innovations in bariatric equipment can ensure care environments can meet the needs of plus-sized patients and residents.
VersaTech 1100 ULB Bariatric Bed
Caring for bariatric patients places considerable pressure on available resources in hospitals and care homes, often requiring the help of additional staff to ensure care tasks are completed.
However, without the appropriate equipment, this can place caregivers and patients at increased risk of injury as well as having a detrimental impact on recovery.
Luckily, these challenges can be addressed by providing caregivers with the right bariatric equipment in the form of the VersaTech 1100 ULB Bariatric Bed.
As the only bariatric bed that can drop to 21cm/8 inches off the ground, the VersaTech 1100 ULB Bed has an extra low patient positioning which significantly reduces the risk of injuries in the case of falling out of the bed, as well as making it easier for plus-sized patients to enter and exit the bed, improving their autonomy.
The bed features a safe working load of 500kg/78st and a patient limit of up to 460kg/72st, with each part of the bed also being tested for weight limits (the bed is divided into 3 sections):
- Backrest 225kg/35st)
- Seat section 125kg/19st
- Legs section 150 kg/23st
Enhancing Bariatric Care
With its easily expandable options to accommodate different mattress sizes, an emergency battery backup and quick connect components to ensure optimum efficiency on busy wards, the VersaTech 1100 ULB Bed takes bariatric care to a whole new level.
The bed is constructed of 4 separate sections which can all be manually adjusted to enable the caregiver to come in closer if needed to distribute care.
It also has easy to remove hand and footboards and preset chair functions. The chair function also allows you to transport the patient in this position, so this is more comfortable for them.
Whether it is a remote control with built-in nurse call to enhance patient safety, to an easy to clean powder coated steel structure to aid infection prevention, every aspect of patient-centred has been thought of with this bariatric bed.
Not only will the VersaTech 1100 ULB Bed make a huge difference to nurses and users, it will also provide a care environment flexibility as it can be adapted for standard or bariatric use, saving time and money as well as never being out of use.
It is also worth noting that the Interlude 500 has large anti-static castors which make it incredibly easy to move from ward to ward and/or theatre as well as the clever function of being tip on its side for simple transportation.
AirRise Dual Hoist
With a typical bariatric patient, you need an extremely capable ceiling hoist system for intensive use.
You will need a hoist that is easy to operate and helps to make lifting and moving procedures safe, simple and comfortable for both users and care staff.
This is where the AirRise Dual can make a difference.
With a safe working load of 250kg/39st each, the AirRise Dual is able to cope with the vast majority of patient handling situations up to 500kg/78st, which is unrivalled in terms of lifting capacity.
Involving two normal hoists joined together to work in conjunction with one another, the AirRise Dual system has been expertly designed with the built-in ability for each hoist to be operated independently of each other to offer a seamless sit to stand transfer.
This means the dual hoist allows the operator to adjust the hoist to the person’s position gradually at both ends of their body, enabling synchronisation of lifting so you can lift the shoulders first and then hips, overcoming the challenge of one central gravity point, ensuring maximum safe lifting for bariatric patients.
Not only does this innovative hoist deliver a smooth and quiet patient transfer, but it also features advanced battery protection as standard to prevent downtime due to insufficient charge.
Midland Metropolitan University Hospital
One of the key aims of the new Midland Metropolitan University Hospital is to ensure their hoisting equipment allows their medical team to move patients more independently and safely, without putting additional pressure on any members of staff.
To cater for different health requirements, including bariatric care, Innova are installing a variety of different hoist units throughout, including a number of AirRise Dual hoists, in order to enable patients of up to 500kg/78st to also be moved with care.
These heavy duty hoists will be installed throughout the bariatric wards within the new Midland Metropolitan University Hospital build, helping to ensure a high quality, safe and respectful patient movement, both in lifting and moving through the rail.
Complimented with the new Interlude 500 Bariatric bed – this combined system works in harmony ensuring all lifting and transfer situations are catered for.
Find out more by reading our case study below:
Throughout this blog, we have seen how hospitals and other care environments, have an ever-growing requirement to cater for the growth in the number of bariatric patients likely to be admitted.
To help meet this demand, we have looked at what is required in terms of bariatric equipment, and how new innovations like the VersaTech 1100 ULB Bed and AirRise Dual can meet those needs whilst providing care in a dignified manner.
Are you looking for bariatric equipment for your care environment? Get in touch with our friendly team to find out how they can help you!