Bariatric care triggers new safety issues


It is increasingly important for risk managers to ensure their organizations address the specific issues relating to the care of bariatric patients. If a healthcare organization has no planning in place for the care of bariatric patients then hazardous situations can arise once a patient has been admitted.

That is the view of Lori Severson, loss control consultant for Lockton companies. “The population in the US is increasing in weight and falling into the obese category more and more,” she said.

“There’s going to be a ripple effect in the employment setting regarding hazards from the employee perspective as well as the patient perspective, so risk managers really need to be addressing this.”
She added that it is important to put the right technology, policies and procedures in place and to make architectural and engineering changes where appropriate.

“I would encourage the use of engineering controls,” she said. “When you can’t engineer in safety you then go to administrative controls in the form of having the policy and the procedures in place for employees to understand the organization’s toolkit to provide to provide dignified and quality care.”

She added that forward planning is essential. “The last thing we want is to have accepted a patient they have to backpedal and get all these components in place without any quality, thought and planning. Planning ahead is critical,” she said.


Bariatric care, safety issues, hazards