Educating Nurses on Delivery of Competent Care for Bariatric Patients
Obesity is a growing concern in this country with more than one-third of the adult population in the United States considered obese. A review of the literature reveals gaps among those who care for bariatric patients, which hinder the proper delivery of care to this population. Among nurses who provide care for this population admitted to the hospital, this gap includes knowledge around the specialized equipment available for these patients. Nurses must be aware of the availability of bariatric equipment as well as how to acquire it for their patients, so that the same safe, high-quality care can be provided to bariatric patients as is provided to their non-bariatric counterparts. To address this gap in practice, an educational intervention was presented to staff on to an adult Medical Surgical unit at a large tertiary care hospital. The education included a Bariatric Patient Checklist which guides nurses in the availability and location specialized bariatric patient supplies. The intervention also included education about the bariatric population, focusing on the negative bias that care providers have toward bariatric patients, that is described in the literature. The goals of this intervention are to increase the knowledge base of the staff receiving this education, as well as to improve the quality of care provided to bariatric patients.