Top factors to consider when caring for a Bariatric Patient

2 August 2018

Bariatric clients - Everything you should know

At what point is a person classified as bariatric?

Bariatric is a term commonly used to encase a wide range of clients of all sizes, abilities and stages. Typically, an individual is considered morbidly obese if he or she is 45 kilograms over his or her ideal body weight, has a BMI of 35- 40 or more, and experiences obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Being bariatric can cause many complications on the patient itself, their carers and in the home environment.


Factors to consider when sourcing bariatric equipment

While many patients opt for bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass or lap band surgery, some clients are unable to access these options and require extra care in their daily activities. It is important to ensure adequate equipment is in place to care for bariatric patients to guarantee they are safe and comfortable, and that unnecessary strain is not placed on carers.

When sourcing bariatric equipment, the term ‘bariatric’ or ‘obese’ is too broad. Wherever possible, it is important to know the patient’s weight and overall width. These factors play a great role in ensuring that the equipment being sourced is adequate. Knowing the patient’s weight will ensure that the equipment caters to a weight above what it needs to, meaning that the patient is safe, and at the same time provides extra security for the patient and carer. The width of the client will determine the broadness of the equipment needed.

Bariatric equipment can be costly due to the nature of its materials and size for maximum weight capacity. Rather than outlaying for equipment when you are not sure it will be effective, try to hire or trial the equipment before choosing to buy wherever possible. Another important factor to consider is the environment where the equipment will be going. Are the doorways wide enough for equipment to move unobstructed? Is the bedroom large enough to cater for extra equipment, and still provide free walking spaces for the patient and carer?


The effects of caring for a bariatric patient

Caring for a larger patient can cause physical strain on family members and carers. Having equipment in place to reduce manual handling is important to reduce the risk of strains which in turn frees up carers to complete other tasks or care for other clients.


Bariatric equipment

Common equipment used for bariatric clients include:

Adjustable Hospital Beds

Electric adjustable beds allow the patient to adjust their position in bed. By raising the head and adjusting the knees, patients can sleep or rest comfortably.


Bedside commodes are used in the bedroom to allow patients to toilet when they are unable to reach the bathroom.
Shower commodes are mobile, allowing patients to be wheeled into the shower or over a toilet.

Toileting equipment

Equipment also used in toileting includes over toilet frames or toilet surrounds, which provide a raised seat or arm rests to ensure the patient able to easily get on and off the toilet without assistance.

Walking aids

Some bariatric patients struggle with walking and mobility, and require the assistance of a walking frame or rollator, or walking stick.


Where patients find walking a struggle, having a wheelchair to self-propel or be transited from place to place can be helpful. This ensure patients remain mobile and are able to visit friends and places they love.


Hoists are used where patients are unable to transition from a bed to a chair. A hoist allows patients to be lifted using a sling. Ceiling hoists are most effective for bariatric clients as they allow proper positioning and eliminate the need for patient handling.

Pressure care

When patients spend long periods of time in one position, such as in bed or in a wheelchair, they are susceptible to pressure sores. Extreme bariatric patients suffer from sweat between skin folds and are unable to change their position. Alternating air mattresses such as the Cair Max Duo ensure that clients do not develop pressure sores, and work to heal existing pressure injuries.


With so many factors to consider, caring for a bariatric client can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help! Please call to discuss your needs with us today.



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