Case Study: Bariatric Patients Have Feelings Too!

The following extract is taken from the article 'Size Matters'in the CSP’s magazine, ‘Frontline’ in 2012[1] and it highlights the real challenge that obese patients pose to physiotherapists.

Bariatric patient, Lou Bradley, went into hospital for her first bariatric procedure following a long battle for the right to receive this treatment on the NHS. She previously visited her GP who, without consulting other members of the multidisciplinary team, prescribed her with the obesity drug Xenical and sent her on her way. Following this unsuccessful spell of medication she was eventually recommended for bariatric surgery. However, when she arrived at the hospital they did not have the appropriate equipment, such as a bariatric bed or hoist, to safely accommodate her for bariatric surgery. Furthermore, the staff lacked the necessary training to help her mobilize during her hospital stay. In one incident, staff members were unable to transfer her into a standard hospital bed leaving her feeling humiliated and embarrassed. After the patient eventually got the procedure done she reported that the after-care was clearly lacking. The only post-surgery treatment she was offered was limited physiotherapy sessions every couple of weeks but this focused mainly on strengthening exercises for lower limbs.

Key Points

  • The standard of treatment for bariatric patients is not good enough due to a lack of equipment, facilities and care
  • The MDT must co-ordinate to provide a holistic, patient-centred approach to weight management
  • A crucial factor achieving sustainable weight management is making exercise more accessible and giving patients options they will adhere to

What do you think?

Should bariatric care become an integral part of physiotherapy training in all degree courses, rotations and static posts?

Reference[edit | edit source]

  1. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Size Matters. (accessed 26 Oct 2012).