March 6, 2023 | Terry Smith

Ten Tips For Handling Bariatric Patients In Hospital

As a healthcare professional, the handling of bariatric patients in hospitals can be a challenging task. Bariatric patients require specialised care and attention to ensure their safety and well-being while in the hospital.

In this article, we will share ten tips for handling bariatric patients in hospitals.

Doctor pushing patient on a patient stretcher in a hospital

1. Always use appropriate equipment

Using appropriate equipment is critical when handling bariatric patients. Hospitals should have specialised equipment, such as bariatric beds, wheelchairs, and lifts, to safely transport and transfer patients. Using regular equipment for bariatric patients can result in accidents or injuries.

Also, seeking help from the suppliers of this equipment is a good idea, as they will often be able to provide insights into best practices.


2. Train staff on bariatric patient handling

It is essential to train staff on proper bariatric patient handling techniques. Staff should be trained on how to use specialised equipment, how to transfer patients safely, and how to prevent pressure ulcers.

Staff members should also be aware of the risks associated with bariatric patients, such as cardiac events and respiratory distress.


3. Conduct a risk assessment

Before admitting a bariatric patient to the hospital, it is essential to conduct a risk assessment. This assessment should include evaluating the patient’s mobility, skin integrity, and medical history. The assessment will help determine the appropriate level of care and equipment needed to manage the patient’s care safely.


4. Develop a care plan, and focus on Patient Discharge

A comprehensive care plan should be developed for each bariatric patient. This plan should include goals, interventions, and strategies to manage the patient’s care effectively. The care plan should be regularly reviewed and updated as needed.

As soon as possible, start planning for the patient’s discharge. If 2 or more ambulance crews had to attend to facilitate getting the patient into the hospital when they were admitted, this will likely mean their discharge will be a very complex and potentially problematic one, so early planning is essential. 


5. Monitor for complications

Bariatric patients are at risk for complications such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and infections. It is essential to monitor patients for signs of complications and provide appropriate interventions as needed.


6. Manage medications carefully

Bariatric patients may have unique medication needs, such as altered absorption rates or dosing requirements. It is critical to manage medications carefully and ensure that patients receive the correct doses at the appropriate times.


7. Provide appropriate nutrition

Bariatric patients may require specialized nutrition interventions, such as high-protein or low-calorie diets. It is very important to provide appropriate nutrition to support the patient’s health and recovery.


8. Maintain skin integrity

Bariatric patients are at risk for pressure ulcers due to their size and limited mobility. It is essential to maintain skin integrity by repositioning patients frequently and using specialized equipment, such as pressure-relieving mattresses.


9. Communicate effectively

Effective communication is critical when handling bariatric patients in hospitals. Staff members should communicate clearly and effectively with each other and with the patient to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the patient’s care plan.


10. Provide emotional support

Bariatric patients may experience feelings of isolation or frustration due to their size or medical conditions. It is essential to provide emotional support to help patients cope with these feelings and maintain a positive outlook on their recovery.





In conclusion, handling bariatric patients in hospitals requires specialised care and attention.

By using appropriate equipment, training staff on proper handling techniques, conducting a risk assessment, and developing a comprehensive care plan, hospitals can provide safe and effective care for bariatric patients.

By monitoring for complications, managing medications carefully, providing appropriate nutrition, maintaining skin integrity, communicating effectively, and providing emotional support, hospitals can help bariatric patients achieve the best health outcomes.



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Terry Smith

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