Check your weight bias

A pervasive devaluation of individuals with large bodies negatively impacts their physical and emotional health, according to a 2018 study on weight bias by Nutter et al.

Not only do large people face discrimination in personal and professional settings, but negative attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes about people with large bodies can also be reflected in the behavior of healthcare professionals who care for bariatric patients.

As the number of bariatric patients increases each year, it’s important that we, as caregivers, examine our outlook on these patients and eliminate any unintentional judgment we may have about them.

Here are nine important tips on caring for patients with large bodies.

  1. Provide them with the same type of care given to lighter patients
  2. Avoid any assumption about a “cause” of a large body
  3. Use a warm, kind tone when addressing bariatric patients, just as you would any other patient
  4. Ensure the patient that you are including them in their care
  5. Ask the patient to assist in their care whenever possible – avoid assuming they are unable to
  6. Discuss their care with them
  7. If you observe someone treating a large patient with disdain or making disparaging reports, speak up on the patient’s behalf
  8. Plan for the large patient’s needs: appropriately sized bed, bedside commode, a bedside chair and a room large enough to hold the equipment
  9. Treat patients with large bodies with respect and understanding

By demonstrating equal consideration and empathy to all our patients, we can make our work and personal interactions more enjoyable and less stressful.

At Arjo, we believe in offering safe, dignified care for plus-sized patients. We invite you to explore our portfolio of bariatric products and services.

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Nutter, Sarah; Russell-Mayhew, Shelly; Arthur, Nancy; Ellard, John H. Weight Bias as a Social Justice Issue: A Call for Dialogue. Canadian Psychology 2018: 59(1). pp. 89–99.

Beitz, M Janice. Attitude Isn’t the Only Thing, It’s Everything: Humanistic Care of the Bariatric Patient Using Donabedian’s Perspective on Quality of Care. Ostomy Wound Management, 2018: 64(1). pp. 12–17.