Survey Results from Washington and Oregon: How are LTC and EMS handling heavy patients? (2005)Safe Patient Handling – Bariatrics

About one-third of adults in the US are obese (having a Body Mass Index of greater than 30). (CDC, 2010). The word obesity has its origins in the Latin language; it refers to the state of becoming “fattened by eating.” The term bariatrics, which serves as a functional definition of obesity, is derived from the Greek expression baros, referring literally to weight or measurement. Bariatrics is the science of providing healthcare for those who have extreme obesity(Camden, S., 2009)

A recent article in USA Today stated that obesity will cost the U.S. about $344 billion in medical-related expenses by 2018, taking up about 21 percent of healthcare spending. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes obesity as being one of the world’s most significant health problems.

Over the past few years the number of obese and morbidly obese patients being cared for in all healthcare settings has noticeably increased (Muir, M., Archer-Heese, G., 2009). Nurses, Aides, Orderlies, EMS professionals, therapists, home care workers and family members are having to address the challenges of caring for larger, heavier patients and residents.

 On this page:

Guidelines & Toolkits for Implementing SPH Programs & Bariatrics

White Papers


Other Resources

Also refer to Resources on the Safe Patient Handling Acute and Long Term Care Pages

Guidelines and Toolkits for Implementing SPH Programs & Bariatrics

OCHE Webinar Dec 7, 2017 – Solutions to Challenges Associated with Handling and Mobilizing Bariatric Patients
Click here to access the recorded webinar.
Handout materials

OCHE webinar Dec 7 2017 Bariatric SPHM handout
Bariatric SPHM References and resources Dec 2017
Sample SPHM Algorithms inc. Bariatrics
Sample SPHM mobility check Enos 2017
AASPHM Sling Hanger Bar Guidelines 2016
SPH Equipment checklist guide Sept 2014
Equipment needs FGI_PHAMA_whitepaper_042810

Resources provided by PeaceHealth Oregon West Network and developed by
Beth Ayer, Brian Cherry, Debbie Christensen, Louella Freeman, Dana Haskins
Dr. Julie Hughes, Chris McGuire, Susan Nicholson, April Rain and Candace Shorack.

Bariatric Clinical Pathways Guideline Document (MSWord)

  • Bariatric Care Quick Tips 2009 contains tips, tricks and best practices for safe moving and lifting and providing care of Bariatric patients. This resource is provided courtesy of Providence Health and Services, Oregon

Click here to access SPH tools from the VA Sunshine Health Care Network – VISN 8 Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, Tampa, FL such as:

  • Bariatric Toolkit
  • SPHM Toolkit

 ANA Online Journal in Nursing – Bariatric Issue 2009. Each article has extensive references.

How to Safely Move Bariatric Patients from WorkSafeBC. Presentations from sessions on strategies and equipment required to safely transport lift and move bariatric patients within and between healthcare facilities including:

White Papers

Oregon Nursing Facilities Bariatric Survey Report – September 2009.  

The purpose of this brief survey was to find out if Nursing Facilities in Oregon accept bariatric residents into their facilities and if they do, is equipment available to accommodate the physical needs of bariatric residents. The survey is provided courtesy of Oregon Health Care Association (OCHA).

Survey Results from Washington and Oregon: How are LTC and EMS handling heavy patients? (2005)

Laurel Kincl, PhD and Jennifer Hess, MPH, DC, PhD, Labor Education Research Center (LERC) University of Oregon. Oregon.  This PowerPoint presentation describes patient/resident handling practices and “heavy” patient/resident handling issues from the view point of EMS and Long Term Care facilities in Oregon.

Risk assessment and process planning for bariatric patient handling pathways (2007). Hignett, S  Health and Safety Executive, UK.

Articles & Publications

Bariatric Standards Ensure Safe Successful Treatment (2007).   Schmidt, C.  Nursing Manage, 38(11).

Best Practices for Sensitive Care and the Obese Patient (2008).   Gallagher Camden, S.G., Brannan, S. & Davis, P.  Bariatric Nursing and Surgical Patient Care, 3(3).

Caring for the Orthopedic Patient who is Obese (2004). Taggart, H.,Mincer, A., & Thompson, A.  Orthopaedic Nursing, 23(3).

Criteria-Based Protocols and the Obese Patient: Preplanning Care for a High Risk Population (2004). Gallagher, S.G. et al. Ostomy/Wound Management.  50(5): 32-44.

Developing a Comprehensive Bariatric Protocol:  A template for Improving Patient Care (2006). Arzouman, J. et al. MEDSURG Nursing, 15(1).

Essentials of a Bariatric Patient Handling Program.  Muir, M., & Archer Heese, G.  The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 14(1). 1

Handling of the Bariatric Patient in Critical Care: A Case Study of Lessons Learned
Critical Care(2007).  Muir. M., Heese G., McLean, D., Bodnar, S., & Rock, B. Nursing Clinics of North America, 19(2):223-240.
Nursing Care of the Bariatric Patient (2006).  Gallagher, S.G. Bariatric Nursing and Surgical Patient Care. 1(1):21-30.

Obesity, Organizational Policy and Education (2005).  Gallagher, S.G. Bariatric Today.  3: 60-3.

Obesity: changing the Face of Geriatric Care (2006). Gallagher, S.G. & Gates, J.Ostomy/Wound Management.  52 (10): 36-44.

Obesity and the aging adult (2005).  Gallagher, S.G. Clinical Geriatric Medicine.  21(4): 757-65.

Preplanning with Protocols for Skin and Wound Care in Obese Patients (2004). Gallagher S.G. et al.  Advances in Skin and Wound Care 17(8); 441-436.

Recognizing Trends in Preventing Caregiver Injury, Promoting Patient Safety, and Caring for the Larger, Heavier Patient (2009). Gallagher, S.G. Bariatric Times. February 2009.

Safe Patient Handling of the Bariatric Patient (2008).   Muir, M., &  Archer Heese, G.  Bariatric Nursing and Surgical Patient Care, 3(2).

Safe Patient Handling of the Bariatric Patient: Sharing of Experiences and Practical Tips When Using Bariatric Algorithms (2008). Muir. M., & Archer Heese., G. .Bariatric Nursing and Surgical Patient Care. 3(2): 147-158.

The Challenges of Obesity and Skin Integrity (2005). Gallagher, S.G. Nurse Clinical N Am. 40(2); 325-335.


Other Resources

Weight Bias in Health Care (2008). Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, Yale University; Instructional Video, Yale CMI Media Team.  Click here to view this video on You Tube.

Overweight and Obesity Web Page -The Center for Disease Control.