Patients who are obese have special needs when it comes to completing physical therapy. This is often the case when an obese person decides to obtain bariatric surgery or other surgical means to reduce their weight. This can cause a challenge for physical therapy clinics as they must have available special equipment in order to provide the same level of care to obese patients as their average sized patients. Knowing what types of quality equipment are available to accommodate the needs of obese patients is half the battle. Here are the recommended essential bariatric products for the physical therapy clinic treating obese patients.
When it comes to providing physical therapy to patients of any size, certain essential products are required to help patients retain mobility throughout this process. These items may include, but are not limited to canes, walkers, crutches, wheel chairs or braces. Normally, it would not be a problem to fit a patient with these items if they are of an average size and weight, but if you have an obese patient it’s difficult to safely fit them with any mobility devices that will not cause them pain or fail to provide adequate support. Another factor to consider is that the equipment must withstand additional weight so the products must be built to last. It’s recommended that in order to accommodate patients of a larger size and weight, that physical therapy clinics choose products that are adjustable, manufactured out of sturdy materials (steel vs. wood or plastic) and be able to take the pressure off of already strained joints. Wheelchairs should have wider seats and allow a full range of motion to encourage obese patients to use them as needed.
Beds and Support Surfaces
When treating the obese patient in the clinic or providing in-home care, there is a great need for a bed, tables or support surfaces that can support their size and weight. Treatment may occur at home and the patient should have enough support so that their back and neck are not having extra strain put on them as the result of leg and arm exercises. In the clinic, it’s essential to have at least one larger treatment table that can be utilized by all patients including obese people. One excellent type of table is the Powerline Treatment, made by Oakworks. This remarkable treatment table features a sturdy padded surface, solid hardwood frame and an adjustable bed that can handle patients up to 500 lbs.
When it comes to ensuring safe treatment of obese patients, nothing comes in more handy than the hospital style weight bearing patient lift. These lifts give the caregivers and physical therapists another set of hands when lifting the patient or helping them learn to sit up and stand again. A lift can make sure the patient isn’t falling out of bed or causing injury to anyone, most of all themselves, during treatment.
Obese patients often have trouble breathing properly when participating in physical therapy. Therefore it’s essential to have some type of respiratory aid, such as oxygen and masks, on hand just in case. This will ensure that the patient gets the right amount of fresh air to breath and doesn’t pass out due to lack of oxygen, which would be a very injurious experience for them and for staff.
When an obese patient presents for treatment, it can be difficult for them to be weighed to see how they are progressive with their weight loss following bariatric surgery. Standard hospital scales only go up to 400 lbs so it’s necessary to obtain a floor scale that can weight up to 1,000 lbs. A floor scale also makes it easier for the patient to get up and down off the scale, especially if mobility is an issue.