The Bariatric Patient’s Unique Needs
Patients who are bariatric-sized are more than just overweight or obese. These patients generally weigh from 400 pounds or more and that presents its own set of challenges. But they are still human beings with emotions and should be treated as such. There is a growing world of products to help these individuals live their life with or without assistance.
Generally, bariatric patients have limited mobility and will use certain ambulatory products like a motorized scooter, wheelchair, walker/rollator, or cane. If they are ambulatory, they will also need products like chair lifts, bed lifts, or helper-assisted lifts to get them in an upright position. These products are generally motorized and so access to an electrical outlet is necessary.
There are also risers available for the toilet or bariatric commode seats that have handles that can withstand the extra weight when used. The bathroom products generally do not need electricity and so they can be moved around into the patient’s bedroom if needed. Wall mounted grab bars for the toilet, shower, and bath are also available, but like with all these products, you will have to check the description to make sure they can withstand the weight of a bariatric patient or they could break causing injury.
For bed-bound or chair bound patients, bariatric sized incontinence products are widely available. Bed pads, or chux, are used under the patient as an extra boost to any other product’s absorbency. Usually bariatric patients need adult diapers, again specifically bariatric sized, as they can not pull up disposable underwear up and down. Extremely thick bladder pads and booster pads can be placed in these diapers to add absorbency.
The tendency for bed sores and skin fold infections is high with bariatric patients who may not be able to get around easily or bathe themselves regularly or well. There are many types of antifungal and barrier creams available as well as diaper rash ointments. Regular and thick application of these creams can prevent or aid most skin breakdown.
The bariatric patient’s needs may be different than a smaller person but in reality, they require the same level of attention as anyone else who needs medical supplies. The main difference is that they require specially marked “Bariatric” products to fit their size and to provide a supportive lifestyle. A wide range of bariatric products are available across the internet and in brick and mortar stores, such as on our Bariatric Supplies page.