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Dignity and respect for very large patients

Dignity and respect for very large patients

Innovation and sensitivity are the cornerstones of the approach to treating very large – ‘bariatric’ – patients at local hospitals.

A bariatric care approach helps staff provide respectful and safe care for very large patients

Capital & Coast DHB’s approach, initiated in 2015 with private provider Essential Helpcare, involves a bundle – or package – of equipment for larger patients. An initial bundle includes a bed, walking trolley, body hoist, and toileting equipment with more options available.

“It can be humiliating for a very large patient if this equipment isn’t available and, for example, we can’t take their blood pressure or they can’t fit into a chair,” said executive director nursing & midwifery Andrea McCance.

“The bundle approach ensures this doesn’t happen. Essential aims to deliver the equipment within an hour of it being ordered – a vast improvement for patients and staff.”

In 2016, 182 bundles were delivered to assist 268 patients with an average weight of 200kg.

The DHB has also improved the approach through an innovative process with Wellington Free Ambulance to better prepare for bariatric patients coming to the emergency department.

Wellington Free orders the bundle so it is available when the patient arrives. Average delivery time is 29 minutes – a New Zealand first. Other DHBs have now adopted bariatric bundles, and there is interest from Australian hospitals.

“Meeting bariatric patients’ needs is a priority. This process allows us to do that quickly and comprehensively, keep patients and staff safe, and treat patients with dignity and respect.”

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