What Every Bariatric Patient Should Know About Living at Home
In the past, life at home was not an option for many people with chronic health conditions. It was neither safe nor affordable for those who needed ready access to caregivers, medical supplies, and specialized treatment options.
Today, though, with revolutionary advancements in medical equipment, things are different. More and more people are able to live at home, where they feel most safe and secure.
But this is only possible if they have prepared their homes and living environments for their specific health needs. This specifically applies to bariatric patients.
Who is a bariatric patient?
A bariatric patient is a patient who is obese to the point that their weight is causing medical problems or potential medical problems. Obesity is determined by the person’s Body Mass Index (BMI).
BMI is a measurement of body fat determined by a person’s height and weight. BMI measurements are just one criteria used to determine risk for diseases like Type II Diabetes. A person is considered to have a healthy BMI if the number is under 25 on a scale of 1-30(+).
A person with a BMI of 30 or greater has several unique care needs because of the effect their weight has on their body.
The special needs of bariatric patients
If you weigh more than 300 pounds or have a BMI of higher than 30, special issues arise with personal care and health care. At that weight, you must only purchase products designed for bariatric patients. Bariatric supplies have higher weight limits and can support your larger frame.
Also, injuries are more prevalent in bariatric patients, because it is more difficult for them to move. Falls — and the injuries that come along with them (broken bones, sprains, bruises, head injuries) — are a major cause of concern, because bariatric patients cannot recover and get themselves back up as easily. In addition to the safety implications, not being able to get yourself back up after a fall can be humiliating.
Bariatric patients also frequently encounter unique skin conditions and chronic wounds that arise from the folds in their skin. Your skin must be kept under regular, daily observation. Yeast, fungus, and bacteria all hide in the dark crevices of the skin. In addition, if your lymphatic system is compromised, you’ll have a difficult time healing if you have skin tissue breakdown or wounds. Sweat adds to these issues and can cause body odor.
In terms of incontinence, normal-absorbency incontinence supplies are not absorbent enough to hold the contents of larger bladders and bowels, and the pressure of your weight on the abdomen increases bladder and bowel leaks. Properly fitted bariatric incontinence supplies allow you to take in the fluids you need to stay hydrated, but also eliminate leaks, accidents, and odors. This is imperative to maintaining both your health and your personal dignity. Diet also contributes greatly to your bladder and bowel issues, as far as regularity and consistency go.
Specialized furniture and equipment for bariatric patients
In the home, the best way to live comfortably and happily, is to have proper furniture and medical equipment. Beds, mattresses, portable commodes, bath benches, and reachers and grabbers are all tools that allow you to live a more dignified life.
When purchasing furniture, you have to make sure it’s built to hold your weight. Beds and mattresses are especially important, as most people spend at least eight hours a day on one. You need to buy a bed frame designed to support and hold your body and a mattress designed to give you the best lumbar and back support.
Furniture and equipment must be reinforced to be durable and sturdy. Most manufacturers list the weight capacity on the packaging or in the supplemental information. A strong warranty is also recommended to protect you, the customer, from faulty materials or poor manufacturing.
These recommendations also apply to wheelchairs, scooters, and bath safety products like transfer benches, shower stools, grab bars and handrails.
Whether you are semi-mobile or have a caregiver, a lift is essential for getting you in and out of your bed and chair. Lifts work with or without assistance, depending on the style. Be sure to purchase the correct form of lift for your weight and needs. If you have a caregiver, a lift is necessary to protect your caregiver’s health. The number one cause of caregiver injury are accidents that occur when trying to lift an obese patient.
If you’re interested in products that will help you live your life to the fullest, we are a quick phone call away.