Is your healthcare facility designed to accommodate plus size patients?

As part of our launch of the Arjo Guide for Architect and Planners, we are focusing on the different patient and resident space requirements within healthcare facilities and how they can impact plus sized patients. Bariatric_hero (1)

While a hospital stay can be an unnerving experience for most people, it is likely to be even more so for a plus sized person. At home, space dimensions, routines and methods to achieve everyday tasks such as hygiene care, getting in and out of bed where possible and sitting comfortably in a chair are familiar everyday habits. Faced with achieving those same tasks in an unfamiliar setting, surrounded by strangers and with unfamiliar equipment is likely to lead to significant stress and anxiety for the plus size patient when faced with a hospital stay. There are many considerations when designing a healthcare facility for plus sized patients: 


Can the plus size person transition through the hospital with ease? Think of movement through and within corridors, treatment rooms, operating theatres, diagnostic departments, lifts and bathrooms. Is the equipment required throughout the patient’s journey of an appropriate size and able to safely accommodate a heavier weight with dignity and comfort? 

Care environment 

Is there enough space at points of care to accommodate extra staff and move larger equipment such as a wider medical bed, bariatric commode, chair and lifter with ease? 

Wider medical beds

As the hospital bed is the one piece of equipment the patient is likely to spend the most time in contact with during a hospital stay it needs to comfortably accommodate the larger person while providing the functionality required by caregivers to deliver care safely. Considerations such as: 

  • flexible width to accommodate a wide range of plus size patients,  
  • integrated power drive system to assist during transport of the plus size patient on their bed  
  • integrated weigh system for easy dignified access to patient weight information  
  • functionality to assist with supported sitting and repositioning 
  • a pressure redistribution mattress designed to fit variable bed dimensions and a micro-climate management system to reduce heat and moisture build up between the patient and the mattress to help reduce the risk of pressure injuries and improve patient comfort.  


Safe transfers 

Do caregivers have the space they need to work ergonomically and safely using appropriate lifts, slings and transfer equipment? Would ceiling lifts solve some space issues?  


It is not unusual for family and friends to also be plus sized – is there sufficient wide seating in clinics, waiting areas, visitor rest rooms and restaurants?


Larger patients deserve the same level of dignity and respect as others. Are your patients reassured from the moment they enter your care? Do you have bariatric solutions and equipment readily available across the facility and does it look similar to that used for all patients? 

Planning for change 

Here at Arjo we have developed the guide for Architects and Planners, a digital portal that contains CAD drawings, room layout examples and space requirements for plus sized patients.  You can find insights and drawings in the link below. 

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