One in 10 care home staff have had to turn down obese residents due to lack of bariatric facilities
With one in four British adults now obese in older age, new figures from carehome.co.uk, the leading care home reviews website, reveal that only 39% of care home staff say they have the bariatric facilities to look after obese residents, with one in 10 care home staff (13%) having to turn them away due to lack of these services.
The figures have been sourced from a survey completed by care home owners, managers and staff as part of the carehome.co.uk Summer Survey, and the term ‘bariatric’ relates to people who weigh more than 25 stone.
Davina Ludlow, Chair of carehome.co.uk, said:
“The number of severely overweight older people is rising in the UK, and while some care homes have started building bariatric rooms to accommodate residents who are obese, over half are unprepared for this and have no specialist facilities.
“With obesity on the increase, it is vital that the care sector is able to cater to the needs of bariatric residents. Care home developers need to become more inclusive and start building specialist bariatric suites in new care home developments.
“The Government also needs to be aware that care homes face higher costs if they care for bariatric residents, due to installing specialist equipment and requiring more care workers for moving and handling. It is much more expensive caring for morbidly obese people and care homes should receive more funding from the local authority for residents over a certain weight.”
Severely obese people are more likely to suffer from complex conditions such as cardiac disease, hypertension, respiratory disease and diabetes. In addition, they often require specialist management of their skin as severely obese people have an increased risk of pressure ulcers, wounds and reduced prognosis for wound healing due to their immobility.
Zara Ross, head of care at St Monica Trust, which has a specialist bariatric suite in its Sherwood Nursing Home points out that it is not just about the physical care as a person who is severely obese will often have emotional and psychological needs as people often feel very unhappy with their personal image.
She said: “They have to cope with the comments from people who are not obese and who can be quite intolerant and often do not understand why other people are overweight. They can also be viewed as a drain on resources such as the NHS.
“Obesity – whether associated with medical conditions, or for other reasons – is a major concern for health and social care providers currently, and over the next ten years.”