Hospitals prepare for growing ranks of obese

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    Post Hospitals prepare for growing ranks of obese


    Hospitals prepare for growing ranks of obese

    By Kim Dixon

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - As Americans keep getting bigger, hospitals are revamping themselves to accommodate an influx of obese patients.

    When these patients check into a hospital, they are increasingly likely to find themselves in a room with a wider doorway than the 42-inch standard, a bed that holds up to 1,000 pounds and a ceiling lift system to move them to the bathroom.

    Toilets in such a room are extra-sturdy and mounted to the floor instead of a wall.

    The number of obesity, or bariatric surgeries performed each year has quadrupled since 2000, according to the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. The procedures generally involve surgically shrinking the stomach and bypassing the intestines to cause the patient to absorb less food.

    The obese -- often defined as weighing 20 percent or more than medically recommended levels -- are also more likely to suffer from chronic medical ailments like diabetes and severe joint problems, bringing them into the hospital.

    As a result, more hospitals are making capital investments to set up separate wings and whole floors for obese patients to keep up with demand.

    "There is a huge volume of patients that need services, and until we get a better pill for weight loss, we have a big problem," said Daniel Jones, chief of bariatric surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston.

    One-third of Americans are obese by U.S. health standards, which measure a person's body fat. The prevalence of obesity has doubled in that past 25 years, according to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and experts predict a steady rise in coming years.

    In January, the 585-bed Beth Israel hospital opened a new bariatric unit after gutting an entire a floor to construct 30 new rooms with specially-designed weight-bearing beds.

    "Before, we just sent (bariatric patients) anywhere, like at the Holiday Inn," Jones said. "But the problem with that is you need the right equipment and medical staff who are specially trained."

    Tenet Healthcare Corp., the second-biggest U.S. hospital chain, recently issued requirements for an obesity program -- including infrastructure-readiness -- at its 71 hospitals.

    About 30 Tenet hospitals offer bariatric programs, according to Paulette Sams, director of general surgery.

    BIG MARKETS

    The number of U.S. hospitals running obesity programs rose 45 percent to about 840 in 2004 from 2002, according to a survey of about 4,600 hospitals by the American Hospital Association trade group.

    San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital, which with 1,000 beds is the largest U.S. long-term care facility, is building 24 new bariatric rooms designed with ceiling lifts that can route patients to extra-sturdy toilets.

    "We are planning for the future, for this burgeoning obesity epidemic nationally," said Associate Administrator Lawrence Funk. "We would be remiss if we did not."

    Laguna hopes the investment will pay off with a reduction in staff injuries, which are common when medical staff deal with the obese population without special equipment, Funk said.

    At the 425-bed Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin, about 7 percent of new rooms from a recent expansion are specially equipped to handle bariatric patients.

    John Balzer, vice president for planning and development, said the $3,200 (1,700 pounds) per room in extra costs was insignificant.

    "Even on a project with 10 percent of beds set up this way, it is difficult to show an impact on costs," he said.

    Tenet's Sams said that when a hospital specialises in bariatrics, it attracts more of these patients, not just for surgeries, but also for the wide variety of medical care they typically need.

    "You are going to have the large population show up at your door if you do these surgeries," she said.

    Besides the boost in business, hospitals that specialise in bariatrics also benefit because government and private insurers are more likely to cover the procedures at attractive reimbursement rates.

    The U.S. Medicare program recently said it would only pay for such surgeries at Centres certified by medical societies, and private insurers are following that lead, officials said.

    Hill-Rom, the hospital furniture unit of Hillenbrand Industries Inc., said sales of its bariatric line are growing rapidly, although it would not provide specific data.

    "The first thing to increase was bariatric bed orders, and we expanded the product line to meet demand," said Design Director Dennis Gallant. "Trailing that is the redesign or design of rooms specifically for that purpose."

    Tenet will often buy some larger furniture for general use because the additional cost is so small.

    For example, Sams suggests replacing an operating table with one that can sustain 1,000 pounds, twice as much as the standard version.

    "It's not that much more expensive," she said, "and you have hip

    This article: Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Hospitals prepare for growing ranks of obese

    Last updated: 03-Jun-06 03:12 BST

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    ArnoldIsMyIdol's Avatar
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    Obese people are such a drain on our country...driving up the price of health care, food, insurance etc.
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    The government should delcare a War on Obesity, make it illegal for people to eat junk food, etc. Declaring war on stuff just seems to work so well for everything else, why not?
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    It's really sad, the one epidemic in this country that can be cured very easily, and yet it continues to worsen. Our country doesn't help it by enabling them...everything from hospitals to clothing stores are making it easier to be fat
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    It's really sad, the one epidemic in this country that can be cured very easily, and yet it continues to worsen. Our country doesn't help it by enabling them...everything from hospitals to clothing stores are making it easier to be fat
    I know, its pathetic. I understand you have to care for people, but there's absolutely no reason for someone to be so hideously obese that they cant even move around.
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    I've had big people ask me for help(not that I know everything about health), but I was like man if they ask I should help. I took the time to develop a diet and workout plan along with explaining the ideas and concepts behind that stuff. I even tell them about this site, but in the end I just end up wasting my time so I don't try to help much anymore. I guess its just laziness.
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    I've developed workouts and diets for coworkers. they did not even try them. also calling someone fat is horribly wrong now days, which I think adds to the enabling. if it hurts someones feelings, good. we need to quit telling people its ok to be fat or its not their fault. sorry I'm done.
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    I've developed workouts and diets for coworkers. they did not even try them. also calling someone fat is horribly wrong now days, which I think adds to the enabling. if it hurts someones feelings, good. we need to quit telling people its ok to be fat or its not their fault. sorry I'm done.
    Same here. Everyone always asks for advice, but they dont want to do the work, even though there's resources like fitday that make it so much easier. I set a whole diet plan for a few of my friends, and they were all excited for about 2 weeks, then went back to eating donuts.

    Its pathetic.

    BV
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    Quote Originally Posted by wastedwhiteboy2
    I've developed workouts and diets for coworkers. they did not even try them. also calling someone fat is horribly wrong now days, which I think adds to the enabling. if it hurts someones feelings, good. we need to quit telling people its ok to be fat or its not their fault. sorry I'm done.

    I'm 5' 10"- 175LBs, and my co-worker's all think I'm anorexic. I look at the average "healthy" kid now and they would have been the neighborhood "fat kid" when I was young. We've gotten to accept this as "normal".

    Whether it's the government or whoever, this problem's got to be addressed. I work in the healthcare system and the correlation between obesity and illness/injury is striking.
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    obesity is the national epidemic but the government deigns it neccesary to enacnt "immediate emergency" modifcations to the steroid sentencing guidelines for people that are concerned about their health and body. absolutely godamn incredible

    america is simply disgusting. people that are 40 pounds overweight going out to stuff their fat disgusting faces with $50 dollars worth of BBQ is not OK. i see the obesity epidemic to be a far greater problem than the "war on drugs".

    to top everyting off the politicians here in new jersey, in all their infinite wisdom, are considering a tax on health club memberships. i find this entire situation completely unbelievable.

    if you are obese than either do something about it or continue to accelerate your own death in a timely fashion so our hospitals, food markets, and insurance plans arent affected by youre repulsive lifestyles. furthermore, stop knocking my healthy lifestyle.
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    What a beautiful rant that I must fully agree with!

    Quote Originally Posted by jomi822
    obesity is the national epidemic but the government deigns it neccesary to enacnt "immediate emergency" modifcations to the steroid sentencing guidelines for people that are concerned about their health and body. absolutely godamn incredible

    america is simply disgusting. people that are 40 pounds overweight going out to stuff their fat disgusting faces with $50 dollars worth of BBQ is not OK. i see the obesity epidemic to be a far greater problem than the "war on drugs".

    to top everyting off the politicians here in new jersey, in all their infinite wisdom, are considering a tax on health club memberships. i find this entire situation completely unbelievable.

    if you are obese than either do something about it or continue to accelerate your own death in a timely fashion so our hospitals, food markets, and insurance plans arent affected by youre repulsive lifestyles. furthermore, stop knocking my healthy lifestyle.
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    i've been to indian health clinics and they only ONLY have "obese" wheel chairs. the wheel chairs that seem like they are 4 ft wide....... quite sad really.

    i just found out that my once 400-500 lb cousin is depressed again so hes almost up to his previous weight now. he was doing so good too.... he lost 200lbs and has gained alot of it back.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Gimpy!
    i've been to indian health clinics and they only ONLY have "obese" wheel chairs.
    You mean in India? I didn't know obesity was a probem over there
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArnoldIsMyIdol
    You mean in India? I didn't know obesity was a probem over there

    no i mean the indians as in the native american indians. the indians have extreme issues with obesity.
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    When are insurance providers going to start upping insurance for being fat! I mean WHAT THE HELL! How the heck do you not up insurance for something that is the own persons fault that costs them millions of dollars every year to help "treat" these people or give them surgeries.... I just can't believe our country anymore, what ever happened to not letting the majority run everything, guess being fat became the normal so we turn an eye and try not to hurt their feelings, because as they all say, "Im addicted to eating and can't help it", well I say no sh1t you are addicted to eating, everyone is made that way, you die without food, its survival to eat, its not survival to eat everything in site and of the fattiest foods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakebyte05
    When are insurance providers going to start upping insurance for being fat! I mean WHAT THE HELL! How the heck do you not up insurance for something that is the own persons fault that costs them millions of dollars every year to help "treat" these people or give them surgeries.... I just can't believe our country anymore, what ever happened to not letting the majority run everything, guess being fat became the normal so we turn an eye and try not to hurt their feelings, because as they all say, "Im addicted to eating and can't help it", well I say no sh1t you are addicted to eating, everyone is made that way, you die without food, its survival to eat, its not survival to eat everything in site and of the fattiest foods.
    Because it would hurt their feelings to up their insurance. Makes it harder to deny they have a problem. You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings now do you?
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    ahh i love our pc world ...... (politically correct)......
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    They did up their insurance, unfortunately we all have to pay for it though.
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