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  • New York Times: Nursing Homes Challenged by Increased Obesity Rates

    As rates of obesity rise, so do the challenges associated with providing care. And nursing homes are feeling the strain.

    A recent article by Kaiser Health News (KHN) and The New York Times (NYT) looks at how care facilities are struggling to accommodate an ever-increasing number of residents who require special care and equipment related to their weight.

    "Obesity is redrawing the common imagery of old age: the slight nursing home resident is giving way to the obese senior, hampered by diabetes, disability, and other weight-related ailments," reporter Sarah Varney writes. "Facilities that have long cared for older adults are increasingly overwhelmed—and unprepared—to care for this new group of morbidly heavy patients."

    The KHN/NYT article explains that many nursing homes have been unable to keep up with the rapid rise in obesity rates among patients, and describes how these patients' needs for specialized beds and chairs, increased staff, and costlier medical equipment are not covered by Medicaid. The result: some nursing homes are declining hospital referrals for patients that the facilities cannot afford to care for.

    According to the article, "the reluctance to accept hospital referrals, especially when physical therapy or wound care is needed, comes down to practical matters: how many staff members will it take to turn the patient? Where is the wound? How long will physical therapy take?"

    APTA has been a strong advocate in the battle against obesity, and offers multiple resources on the role physical therapists and physical therapist assistants play in addressing prevention and wellness, including a 2-part podcast on the inactivity epidemic (part 1, part 2). In addition to continuing education on the PT and PTA role in countering obesity, the consumer-focused MoveForwardPT.com offers a guide to obesity, and PTNow includes several practice guidelines related to obesity. And look for more activity in the future: in 2015, APTA House of Delegates approved a measure to create and strengthen partnerships between the association and other organizations committed to addressing obesity.

    Comments

    • I want to make a comment about an academic medical center which recognised potential problems related to taking care of our morbid obese patients . They invested in expensive equipments to mobilize patient with lots of training to our care staff in preventing injuries . Therapy department has assumed leadership role in providing training to all nurses and care staff in this institution .I am glad to report that our efforts begin to demontrate reduction in back injuries .

      Posted by Dr. John Daniel MA,EdD , PT on 12/17/2015 9:00 AM

    • I cherish what youve got to say and the way you say it.

      Posted by Assisted Living on 12/19/2015 3:33 AM

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