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Designing a Bariatric Care Facility

#Sample College Research Paper

The key concern in modern care facility design is to ensure facilities are properly made to support all the infrastructure and processes needed for effective service delivery (Reiling, Hughes & Murphy, 2008). The infrastructure referred to mainly are the emerging technologies and equipment in the facility. In cases where an old facility fails to accommodate emerging infrastructure, there is need to conduct renovations and modifications on the facility. This article examines how trends in technology , equipment and design influence health care in a bariatric clinic.

Future trends in technology, equipment and design of Bariatric care facility

One underlying trend in bariatric facilities in America is the growing number of patients. Surgery for overweight conditions requires specialised laparoscopic equipment and instrumentation. These include radiology equipment, lighting, surgical tools, suturing devices, scopes, staplers, cutting/coagulation equipment, graspers, designated operating rooms, robotics and skills to use new technologies (Cohen, Schiavon, Pinheiro & Correa, 2003). One of the emerging technologies in bariatric health is the Reshape Duo Balloon. This method is non-invasive. It is recommended for use for not more than six months due to its limited durability and potential to cause obstruction.

Another new technology is the VBLOC. This is an implantable nerve-blocking device. It works by blocking the nerves that stimulate hunger. With the advent of greater focus on patient safety in health care, bariatric facilities are expected to put in place equipment that offer the highest form of care possible. These include inpatient units such as the floor, ICU and PACU. The beds must be wide and able to accommodate over 870 pounds. Lifting or transferring equipment also need to be put in place. Monitoring equipment is also required. Within a bariatric hospital, there must also be an ambulatory facility, designated operating room and administrative offices with modern technology and connectivity. A radiology system must also be put in place.

The process for designing the Bariatric care facility

The standards and processes followed in designing the bariatric facility follow the requirements for healthcare quality laid out by the Institute of Medicine (2001). Therefore, the bariatric facility was designed to meet the requirements for safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equitability. The overall process of designing the facility began with the general overlay of the location and size of the land provided for constructing the facility. The designer sought the services of an architect and an interior designer to come up with a plan for the entire facility. The overall plan and design was based on the six domains of quality spelled out by the IOM (2001).

On the domain of patient-centeredness, the designer ensured that the plan catered for sufficient space for single-bed rooms per patient, family members’ resting or waiting rooms, accessibility to information and clearly marked signs for easy navigation around the facility. On the safety domain, the designer considered availability of assistive gadgets to prevent falls, proper ventilation, easily cleanable surfaces, provision of sinks and cleaning supplies and providing enough spaces to avoid patient or providers’ injury. On the domain of efficiency, the design process factored in proper lighting systems, control of noise and ease of movement. On the domain of timeliness, the design factored in ease of rapid response systems by putting in place alarm systems in case of critical events. Lastly, for equity, the design ensured that the size, overall outlay and functions of the facility meet the diverse needs of patients.

Renovation of an existing structure of a Bariatric care facility

The initial bariatric facility existed as a special wing of a general hospital. It was never envisaged that the administrative and medical procedures of the general hospital may clash at some point with the special needs of the bariatric wing. Over time, it emerged that nurses who manned all the wings of the hospital tended to take no special care for bariatric patients. The condition of these patients was seen as non-illness or self-inflicted one. Over time, the same attitude was seen in the administrative staff. This trend inspired the move to redesign the wing as a stand-alone facility. The new requirements in the new facility include office spaces, separate bariatric theaters, data processing systems, new beds and supplies, new administrative staff and nurses. What should have been done from the start was to separate the bariatric section from all other mainstream hospital units.

Lessons learned from designing a Bariatric care facility

Bariatric facilities need specialized design relative to those of other general hospitals. One lesson learned from the tedious process of design is that it is important to incorporate the bariatric design needs into the overall budget proposal of a general hospital. The budget must reflect the required spaces, infrastructure, automobiles and care providers’ requirements. This will ensure that maximum sizes and weights of bariatric patients can be accommodated safely and with dignity for all involved.

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Cohen, R. V., Schiavon, C. A., Pinheiro, F. J. C., & Correa, J. L. (2003). Laparoscopic bariatric surgery: new technologies, trends and perspectives. Rev Hosp Clin Fac Med Sao Paulo, 58(5), I-VIII.

Institute of Medicine (IOM) (2001). Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Obesity Reporter (2015). Bariatric Surgery Statistics, Facts. Retrieved October 21, 2016 from

Reiling, J., Hughes, R. G., & Murphy, M. R. (2008). The Impact of Facility Design on Patient Safety. In R. G. Hughes, (Ed.). Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses (Chapter 28). Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


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