When Facing Patient Mobility Issues

Patients of size

posted by Kathy Everitt on Monday, February 04, 2019

The benefit of providing good care to patients of size or those with mobility issues is that assessment and treatment can improve.

Keep in mind the term “patient of size” takes into account a patient's overall height and weight distribution, rather than just their obesity.

It can also be helpful to document the position of the patient during your examination (e.g., the patient was examined in the sitting position). Staff can reduce the risks associated with assisting/mobilizing the patient into those positions when the environment is free from hazards and mobility issues are taken into consideration.

  • The first step is to consider your patient population:
    • Do any of your patients fit these descriptions?
    • Are there particular needs you need to address?
  • Next, walk around your office environment, from the parking lot to the exam rooms. Some areas to consider:
    • Is the parking lot free of barriers that might inhibit mobility? Be sure to check in various seasons due to changing weather conditions.
    • Is it easy to open the door and enter your office?
    • Are there both armless and chairs with arms in the waiting room? Armless chairs should have at least 6 -8 inches between them.
    • Do you have firm, high sofas?
  • At your reception desk, is the reception area low enough for a wheelchair?
    • Is there a counter surface to complete or place forms?
    • Is the lighting sufficient?
    • Is there space to maneuver a wheelchair?
  • In your exam room:
    • Is there space to maneuver a wheelchair?
    • Is the exam table adjustable?
    • Are large-sized gowns available?
    • Is a sturdy step stool available to get onto the examination tables?
    • Are large blood pressure cuffs available?
    • Do scales have a capacity of more than 300 pounds?
    • Are scales located in a private area?
  1. office procedures
  2. patients
  3. risk management

About The Author

Kathy Everitt

Kathy brings with her more than 30 years of professional liability experience to NCMIC, encompassing underwriting, sales management, as well as risk management consultation services for healthcare professionals. She has earned her CPHRM designation and, as a licensed property/casualty agent, Kath ... read more

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