RR573 - Risk assessment and process planning for bariatric patient handling pathways

The obese population in the UK is growing and this group are considerably over-represented in their use of health and social care services. This project aimed to identify and explore the manual handling risks and process planning for bariatric patients by mapping the patient pathway for an emergency admission to identify the major risks by:

Findings revealed that 40%-70% of Trusts did not have a bariatric policy. These policies are needed to lead the process planning, assessment and management of manual handling risks including the number of staff, provision of appropriate equipment and intra- and inter-agency communication. Spatial risk factors were identified but seemed to have a poor management record for both building and vehicle design with over half of the Trusts with policies not considering space in the policy; almost 30% of ambulances not having specialist vehicles and 33% of respondents reporting inaccessible areas in their buildings. Even with good communication it was not always possible to manage all of the risks, and the provision of appropriate equipment and successful management of pain, safety, dignity and comfort all contributed to successful pathway experiences.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2021-04-21