When it comes to choosing a care plan for an elderly loved one, or yourself, there’s a lot that can play into finding the right facility or community. But, did you know that obesity is one of the top obstacles you can face when doing so? From initial difficulties in transportation to the need for more specialized equipment, obese patients are having a hard time getting the care they need, when they need it. 

At South Coast Post Acute, we offer a full spectrum of innovative solutions. Your personal care team will create an individualized plan that is tailored to your needs, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. 

Obesity in Geriatric Patients

The CDC defines obesity as a BMI of 30 or higher, and in a 2018 piece, Mayo Clinic stated that in the past 25 years obesity rates have drastically risen across the globe.  266 million men and 375 million women now exceed the weight threshold for obesity, and we’ve seen a 600% increase in severe obesity since the mid-1980s alone.

While it’s well-known that obesity can impact one’s health, older and aging patients are often overlooked when it comes to addressing weight-related issues. That paired with any already existing health issues can severely impact a patient. According to an article from the Obesity Action Coalition, obesity can affect the elderly population in detrimental ways such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, certain cancers, and morbidity and mortality. It can disturb joints, further exacerbating physical disabilities; not to mention, cognitive abilities like memory, comprehension, and decision making can be affected.

A study from Hindawi from 2012 detailed increased lengths for stays and bigger hospital costs, but still showed similar rehabilitation efficiency. They say differences between their studies of rehabilitation programs, any underlying reasons for needing post-acute rehabilitation, comorbid conditions, and delivery models may account for results that contradict. 

In any case, aging, obese patients are facing challenges that their peers may not be.

Problems Faced by Obese Patients

Beyond the health concerns that arise due to obesity, the transition to a post-acute facility can be the next biggest hurdle one faces. According to The American Journal of Managed Care, obese patients often face avoidable complications, simply due to lack of proper equipment, difficulty in getting the patient to the facility in the first place, and the additional staffing needed to aid in caring for them. All frustrating circumstances that are easily avoided with proper research and available resources.

Typically, obese patients can require larger equipment and tools, whether it’s in a facility or for in-home care. This gets further difficult if a patient needing care is severely obese, meaning their BMI is above 40 or higher according to the CDC. Unfortunately, many post-acute care facilities aren’t fully equipped to handle obese patients, and the American Journal of Managed Care explained that this can leave obese patients in the hospital for an extended period of time, just waiting to identify a facility that they can be properly placed in. 

As far as equipment is concerned, some obese patients are not able to use even the simplest devices, like blood pressure cuffs, at various facilities. According to an article by YourCare Everywhere, efficient care may require larger doorframes to move around in, larger toilets, larger beds, larger wheelchairs, and a patient in Illinois even had to file a discrimination complaint to receive a large enough dialysis chair at once care facility.

Staffing is one other thing that can make finding the right post-acute care facility difficult. YourCare Everywhere explained that a non-obese patient’s needs can be cared for in a fraction of the time it takes to address the needs of an obese patient. Plus, multiple staffers may be essential in lifting, bathing, moving, and handling an obese patient’s needs. This means that the time required of staffers must also increase, and so can costs for both the provider and the patient.

The South Coast Post Acute Difference

For more than 40 years, we’ve been providing world-class treatment and exceptional care to patients. We deliver specialized, quality care and treat patients like family! Our team’s compassion, spirit, and skills make post-acute care at South Coast Post Acute even more impactful, especially during a time that can be extremely stressful and difficult. 

We’ve made sure to make South Coast Post Acute an ideal place for countless people to receive their treatment, and we pride ourselves on our results. A combination of our expert staff, exceptional care, and leading-edge technology helps to distinguish us from the competition. 

We’re fully-equipped and able to receive and care for diverse patients, including those requiring special care, nutrition, and help due to obesity. Additionally, our physical, occupational, and speech therapy paired with our memory care services can aid in maintaining cognitive abilities that are so important to your loved one. 

Our goal is to get patients to maximum functional capacity and get back to their homes and community in the shortest amount of time possible. We can help you decide the best course of action for you or your loved one’s needs. Contact us today!

Exceptional, compassionate care; every time, every touch.