Thanks to $50,000 in local initiative funding from Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, Kenmore Mercy Hospital recently added a specially equipped bariatric room on its 2 West Patient Care Unit to accommodate inpatients weighing 300 pounds or more.
Schimminger stopped by the hospital Wednesday to view the new bariatric suite and learn more about how this funding is helping Kenmore Mercy better serve area patients.
The New York State Department of Health reports, during the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity among adults. It's estimated an average of six out of 10 adult New Yorkers are overweight or obese and, in 2010, more than 5 million adults in New York were considered overweight and more than 3.5 million obese. With this rising trend comes a new demand on hospitals.
"One of the things that nurses do the most each day is move patients. In theory, it's a simple task. But with the number of obese patients on the rise, it has become necessary for hospitals to routinely take care of patients weighing up to 500 pounds or more," said Cheryl W. Hayes, vice president of patient care services. "Moving these patients put them and our staff at risk."
With the state funding, the hospital created a dedicated room and purchased special equipment to help meet the needs of bariatric patients and to protect the staff who care for them. The items include a bariatric walker, recliner chair and patient lift to help hospital staff move the patient from the bed to a chair or cart. A specialized hospital bed and mattress also were purchased, which helps prevent pressure ulcers and enables staff to turn patients more easily.
These items will assist the hospital in caring for this patient population while reducing risk of injury to the caregivers.
"I am very happy to be able to assist the hospital in meeting these goals by securing the funding needed to purchase this specialized medical equipment," Schimminger said. "I look forward to seeing many more good changes at this award-winning hospital."