Buyers Guide: Bariatric Mobility Aids & Equipment
Mobility issues are a significant challenge to overcome in any patient category, however they can be even more challenging for bariatric users if they are using equipment which hasn’t been designed to suit their specific needs.
If you are interested in finding out more about bariatric mobility aids and equipment designed to help larger people with mobility issues cope with everyday life, please read on.
What Does “Bariatric” Mean?
“Bariatric” is a medical term used to describe a treatment, intervention, or equipment designed to help treat or deal with obesity.
The term is also applied to individuals - “bariatric patients” include individuals who are classified as overweight or obese, which is measured by calculating their Body Mass Index (BMI).
In 2017–18, it was estimated that 67 per cent of Australian adults were overweight or obese (with 36% being overweight and 31% obese). That translates to around 12.5 million Australian citizens falling into this medical category.
These numbers make it clear that considering bariatric needs is essential when looking to increase patients' or loved ones’ quality of life.
What Are Bariatric Mobility Aids?
Now that we know what the term “bariatric” is all about, it is easy to deduce what are “bariatric aids”. The term refers to mobility equipment designed to support larger patients with mobility issues.
User safety and comfort are priorities when considering properly designed bariatric mobility aids.
How to choose the right bariatric mobility aids?
The tweaks made in the design of standard mobility aids to accommodate larger patients vary depending on the device type. However, all bariatric mobility aids have some shared features:
- They have a higher maximum load.
- They are made from sturdier materials to ensure stability and safety.
- They are often larger to comfortably accommodate the person’s body volume.
Also, these are precisely the qualities to look for for when choosing a particular model of bariatric mobility equipment.
Questions that can help you pick a suitable device could be:
- What is the maximum load (in pounds or kilograms) the device can take?
- How does the design fit with the needs of the user? Is it comfortable enough to use, operate, or move around?
- Does the device have special features that reflect the need of the patient (e.g., a standard or self-propelling shower commode)?
- Is the supplier registered with NDIS?
- What are the delivery options?
However, there is more. By exploring the properties of particular bariatric aid categories, you will gain a deeper insight into what to seek out.
Let’s explore the types of bariatric mobility equipment and their features.
Bariatric walkers differ from the standard versions by being wider and able to support additional weight. The choice of materials is crucial to achieving a delicate balance - the walkers need to be sturdy enough to provide security and stability but remain light enough so users can get by comfortably.
Walking canes are intended for patients with greater mobility but also need to be enhanced for bariatric users. Bariatric walking canes are usually steel-based and heavy-duty, with a four-point cane base that provides additional stability.
Wheelchairs are essential equipment for people who have chronic difficulties walking and a temporary aid for patients recovering from an injury or an intervention.
Bariatric wheelchairs have to be able to carry the patients’ above-average weight while remaining comfortable. They have to be broad and robust enough, which is ensured by appropriate, clever design and using extra-sturdy materials such as stainless steel.
Bariatric Bathroom Aids
Bathroom aids for bariatric patients are designed to provide additional stability when users tend to their hygiene, thus increasing independence and making personal care easier for the patients and their caretakers.
Bariatric shower chairs and stools are equipped with wide and sturdy seats to fully support patients while in the shower. Also, the chairs and the stools usually come with raised armrests, specifically designed to make it easier to get in and out of the shower.
Besides physical safety, bariatric shower chairs provide an additional psychological benefit. The patients have an opportunity to maintain their hygiene in privacy, making them feel more secure and better about themselves in general,
Bariatric shower commodes feature a 2-in-1 approach - they are used as typical commodes plus help the user get to the shower and back. This strategy reduces the burden of handling several transfers. For patients who wish to move around on their own, there is an option of installing a self-propelling rear wheel kit.
Bariatric equipment is not just about the sheer utility - patient comfort is also vital.
Extra-wide comforter chairs with power lift and carefully planned additional features provide a safe and practical place to rest or enjoy a sedentary activity.
To Sum It Up
Luckily, the market is starting to recognise that it is necessary to consider the needs of bariatric patients. Each day, more specifically designed aids are becoming available, and manufacturers are increasingly considering comfort and user-friendliness besides the sheer practical usability.
Sturdiness, stability, safety, user-friendliness, and special features are some of the most important things to explore when choosing the right piece of bariatric mobility equipment.
At Breeze Mobility we offer a range of mobility aids designed for bariatric users. Browse our range online or contact our mobility experts for help and advice.