Recently, statistics suggest that there has been a huge increase in the number of bariatric admissions to hospitals and other care facilities within the United States. This growth has led to several challenges for healthcare professionals who simply don’t have the right resources to care for this specific type of patient. After all, there are unique tools required to ensure that bariatric individuals receive the safe and dignified care that they deserve.
As the number of bariatric admissions continues to rise, architects are beginning to design new hospitals and retrofit old healthcare facilities to cope with the increasing demand. The facilities that the bariatric room market offers are intended to accommodate the needs of larger patients, with solutions like operating tables with 600-pound weight limits and special patient hoists within the ICU departments.
Designing Rooms for Bariatric Patients
At this time, there are no specific guidelines in place to determine how bariatric patient rooms should be created. With that in mind, however, there are best practices available that have been followed by designers and architects hoping to ensure that bariatric patients are comfortable when they need to stay within a healthcare facility.
The obesity epidemic in the United States means that hospitals now need to design rooms that accommodate an average patient weight of around 330 pounds. However, when designing healthcare facilities for bariatric patients, the measurement increases to 1000 pounds. This will mean that more effort needs to be dedicated to creating bariatric slings, tables, and beds in the United States.
A Sharp Growth in the Market
Because healthcare facilities are now adopting new design guidelines to accommodate bariatric patients, the bariatric patient room market is expected to see a huge amount of growth in the years ahead.
To ensure that they are equipped to properly care for bariatric patients, providers within the healthcare industry will need to invest more money into furniture, and equipment that can support heavier patients. According to some studies, the average cost of an obesity-related renovation for a hospital or care facility is around $100,000. However, these predicted costs are being recovered by many hospitals through an increased popularity in bariatric surgeries, along with Medicare reimbursements.
Though most healthcare providers have now recognized the need to adapt their existing spaces and develop stronger solutions to support a growing number of bariatric patients, the concept isn’t as simple as it might seem. At present, there’s no minimum weight requirement available to work with, or a specific code of best practices to follow. To complicate things even further, there’s no standard whatsoever for how to classify “bariatric” patients.
If that wasn’t complicated enough, the rates of obesity throughout America vary drastically from one region to the next, which makes it much harder to cater to a “universal” idea of what requirements might look like.
The Future of Care for Bariatric Patients
On average, it can cost anywhere up to 37% more to provide care and assistance for a bariatric patient, compared to care for a patient who is not classified as obese.
According to the available data, the bariatric surgery market for America was at it’s highest point during 2014, with an increasing level of investment by both the industry and the government to counter the various problems that can be caused by the obesity epidemic. Additionally, the initiates put into place by the United States government within the healthcare sector have made the North American market for bariatric patient rooms increasingly lucrative.
Throughout Europe, obesity has also continued to rise at an alarming rate, meaning that bariatric patient rooms are not just becoming more popular in the United States, but around the world too. The Asia Pacific market is currently the fastest growing space for bariatric surgery.