In October 2007 the Government Office of Science and the Department of Health released a foresight report suggesting that 50 per cent of the UK population could be obese by 2050 at an annual cost to the nation of nearly £50 billion pounds. However, a recent report, conducted by the National Obesity Forum in January 2014, has warned that the UK is in danger of surpassing the 2007 predictions, following analysis of official figures and academic studies on obesity, weight management and lifestyle choices.
Increasing levels of obesity, are having a direct impact on those associated with primary care. There is an acceptance of the issues faced by emergency services and carers due to the rapidly rising obesity levels and necessary steps are being taken to find solutions to providing a professional service to users, while ensuring a safe working environment for their employees and the purchase and use of appropriate equipment.
Hospital Aids, a UK based manufacturer and supplier of emergency evacuation equipment and moving and handling aids, have recently made additions to their product range to include equipment to cater for larger individuals and those caring for them - from repositioning aids and body mass stabilisers to emergency evacuation equipment and training suits.
Their most recent innovation, the Bariatric EvacMat is designed to assist emergency services personnel or designated moving and handling staff to evacuate bariatric people from locations such as a hospital ward or other public/private building in the event of an emergency and has been safety tested to 350kg (55 Stones).
The EvacMat is an ideal choice where evacuation of large individuals is concerned, as it provides a solution to body mass stabilisation, whilst enabling staff/crews to slide them to safety, including down staircases, without any lifting involved. Due to its many ladder handles, the personnel involved can adopt good working positions, reducing the risk of injury to themselves, whilst anchor points give the option for the use of a winch, enabling extra control where needed.
The Promove sling, also available from Hospital Aids, is an ideal solution for extricating a larger person from very confined spaces such as a RTA as it is light weight and portable and will carry up to 45 stones in weight.
As obesity continues to rise, the future care from emergency services and care staff will rely more on companies like Hospital Aids and their innovations in bariatric equipment development.
Originally published in Means of Escape and Health Business Magazine, July 2013.