‘Bariatric’ refers to the health care industry dedicated to the cause, prevention and treatment of obesity. Obesity is a national pandemic in America, and although it is generally not the primary medical condition or reason for the patient’s injury, it can be a very important factor when arranging for procedures or equipment. Most Durable Medical Equipment is designed to accommodate between 250-300 lbs, however, that does not necessarily indicate that a patient will be able to use the equipment. For example, a short person with a weight of 230 may not be able to fit into certain pieces of equipment due to their body composition. When referring a patient to an imaging facility, we also need to make sure that the patient will be able to fit into the MRI tube. If not, we are required to send them to an Open-MRI facility.
As Medical Service providers, we must take into account and educate our clients on the implications that bariatric conditions of a patient may play in their treatment and recovery. Generally speaking, bariatric patients are less mobile and more susceptible to gaining more weight due to inactivity, especially if their injury is to a lower extremity or their back. Medicare allows a patient to be upgraded to a larger capacity mobility device (wheelchair, scooter, power wheelchair) if they are at 95% of the device’s capacity. Catastrophic patients, such as paraplegics and amputees also usually gain large amounts of weight after the first year or two of their recovery. Therefore we are consistently replacing operable equipment as the patient can no longer fit into it. For this reason, it is important for us as a provider to communicate the future needs of the patient with therapists and doctors.
Founded in 2002, Orlando-based Orchid Medical is a one-stop comprehensive medical service company serving the workers’ compensation industry. Dedicated to efficiency and quality care solutions that expedite successful outcomes for injured workers, it offers a nationwide network of service providers for insurance carriers, self-insured employers and TPAs ancillary medical services including DME, Orthotics & Prosthetics, Home Health Care, Diagnostic Imaging and Physical Therapy.