Bariatric Patient Care

Being ready is a better outcome

As facilities encounter increasing numbers of bariatric patients, the need for specialized products and processes designed for bariatric patients becomes ever more obvious.  In recent years, over one-third of people were considered obese with over five percent considered extremely obese in the U.S.  Extremely obese patients are more likely than other patients to suffer from multiple conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and many other conditions.3  These challenges are the reason that the need for attention to this patient population is critical.

Hillrom is committed to helping you face these additional challenges. Hillrom provides everything you need to care for your bariatric patients with dignity, keep your caregivers and patients safe, and manage rising costs.

Click below to read more about the challenges that come with caring for bariatric patients, available solutions, how to measure the impact of the use of products designed for bariatric patients, and how to view others’ successes and share your own

The Challenge:  Patient and caregiver Safety

In 2008 worldwide more than 1.4 billion adults, 20 years and older, were overweight, 35% being overweight and 11% obese 1. According to analysis from the Global Burden of Disease study 2013, published in the Lancet there has been a vast increase in the rates of obesity worldwide. During 1980 to 2013 the number of overweight and obese people has risen from 857 million to 2.1 billion, a 28% increase in adults and 44% in children 2. Consequently the bariatric patient segment is growing rapidly. This growth increases the potential for caregiver injury through handling of patients, and also presents significant challenges for patient care.  For instance, Bariatric patients are more likely than other patients to suffer from multiple conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and many other conditions3 some of the clinical areas that are specifically affected are listed below:

  • Bariatric patients are more likely than other patients to suffer from multiple conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and many other conditions.3

Pressure Ulcer Management: Patients weighing over 300 pounds are at increased risk of developing pressure ulcers.4

Patient Mobility: Most very overweight patients are at risk for hazards of immobility including skin breakdown, cardiac deconditioning, deep vein thrombosis, muscle atrophy, urinary stasis, constipation, pain management problems, and depression. 5 

Safe Patient Handling and Fall Prevention: Patient weight has become a contributing factor in healthcare worker injuries.6 

Respiratory Care:Pulmonary function is compromised in patients who are obese.7 

Overweight and obesity are leading causes of global deaths. Approximately 3.4 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Additionally 44% of diabetes,23% of ischaemic heart disease, between 7% and 41% of cancers are attributable to overweight and obesity. According to the World Health Organisation 2-6% of total health care costs are accountable to obesity with some countries as high as 7%

A Better Outcome Through Improved Skin Integrity

Clinical Resource Center »

Get started on the road to a better outcome by implementing evidence-based processes and utilizing proven technologies to care for bariatric patients. 


Below, you will find processes for bariatric patient care that can be put in place for clinical areas that are affected when caring for bariatric patients.

Pressure Ulcer Management Preventative measures for pressure ulcers in bariatric patients include8.
  • Holistic assesment: Nurses' assesments should encompass and identify all high-risk breakdown areas for careful monitoring and include any comorbidities abd their effects on the patient.
  • Hygiene: Patient's skin folds must be kept clean and dry to minimize the amount of moisture.
  • Speialist equipment and safe manual handling: In order to avoid preassure damage, weight shifting is essential.
Patient Mobility In order to facilitate mobility and rehabilitation, a physical therapist should be consulted within the forst 24-48 hours after admission of the bariatric patient in order to 7:
  • Provide recommendations on body positioning
  • Assist in the selection of a specailty bed and other special equipment
  • Provide the healthcare staff with education related to correct budy mechanics to follow when moving or positioning the obese patient
Safe Patient Handling and Fall Prevention Safe Bariatric Patient Handling Toolkit
Respiratory Care During times of increased activity and weaning trials, patients should be monitored for indications of ischemia, infarction, and pulmonary edema.

Proven Technologies

In addition, Hillrom’s total room solution for your bariatric patients includes a suite of products designed to provide a welcoming and effective experience to bariatric patients.

Our TotalCare™ Bariatric Plus Bed with a low air loss surface may help to maintain the skin integrity of bariatric patients.In one study including 21 patients with an average BMI of 51.4 (range 37-71), 6 patients had 10 existing stage I or II pressure ulcers. The average length of stay on the surface was 4.8 days. And in that time, ulcers decreased from an average size of 5.3 cm2 to 2.6 cm2 and no new pressure ulcers developed.

We also provide other beds, patient lifts and other products to help move, reposition, and treat bariatric patients while keeping caregivers and patients safe. Click below for more information on these products.

Measuring the Impact

Hillrom is a committed partner in bariatric patient care and understands clinical feedback and research efforts are imperative to improving healthcare outcomes.

Are you considering measuring the impact of bariatric patient care processes or technologies at your facility? Click the link to submit your Research Concept and contact information, and a Hillrom representative will contact you.

Sharing Success

Hillrom is committed to the advancement of bariatric care and supports sharing clinical progress and achievement among healthcare professionals. Have you achieved better outcomes using Hillrom surfaces? Tell us your story so that Hillrom can help you share your success.

Sharing success

As we continue to develop this section, new information and webpages will be added. So please check back soon to see our updates!

References »
  1. World Health Organisational  Fact sheet N° 311
  2. Marie Ng Emmanuela Gakidou et al. Global, regional and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. The Lancet, 2014; DOI ;10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60460-8 
  3. Centers for Chronic Disease Prevention Web site. Overweight and obesity health consequences. Accessed 1/16/12.
  4. VanGilder, et al. Pressure ulcer prevalence in bariatric patients – data from the International Pressure Ulcer Prevalence Survey 2009. November 2009 National Association for Bariatric Nurses; Orlando, FL. Poster presentation.
  5. Camden SG. Obesity: an emerging concern for patients and nurses. OJIN. 2009;14. Accessed 1/16/12.
  6. Bersch C. Healthcare Deal Purchasing News. 2003;27.
  7. Charlebois D and Wilmoth D. Crit Care Nurse. 2004;24:19-27.
  8. Rush A. Wound Essentials. 2009;4:68-74.
  9. Pemberton V, et al. Ostomy Wound Manage. 2009;55:44-48.