The Danger Rising Obesity Trends Have on Caregivers

Wordpress Featured Image Template-8 copyDid you know that in the United States, two-thirds of adults are considered over-weight or obese?1 The number of bariatric patients is steadily increasing, a trend you may even be noticing in your own work setting.

But what kind of effect is this new norm having on those who work in the healthcare field? An article in the International Business Times entitled “Obesity In America: As Healthcare Costs Rise, Hospitals Weigh New Ways Of Caring For Larger Patients” looks further into how larger patients are effecting healthcare.

Larger patients put nurses at larger risk.

According to the article, “nursing ranked among the top five sectors with the highest rates of non-fatal, on-the-job injuries.”1 Lifting and moving patients contributes to such injuries.

Elizabeth White, an ICU nurse quoted in the article, says even turning a 100-pound patient on her side puts about 1,000 pounds of pressure on the mover’s back.”

The article states that heavier people tend to spend more time in hospitals and have higher rates of admission to the Intensive Care Unit.1 This increase in these patients directly affects their caregivers, including nurses.

The article says “the CDC has directly cited ‘rising obesity rates in the United States’ as ‘increas[ing] the physical demands on caregivers.’”1

With increasing rates of over-weight patients, there is an increasing risk of injury for caregivers. It is important that nurses keep this risk in mind. Putting your own safety first is crucial in the nursing field. You cannot take care of your patients if you don’t take care of yourself!

Read the full International Business Times article here.