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With the undeniable rise of obesity in our society, technologies and industries must adapt. This is perhaps most critical in the healthcare field, where many of these overweight and obese individuals must receive necessary, often life-saving, care. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are expected to provide equipment suitable for these persons. Finding high quality equipment that can support large weights doesn’t have to be a struggle. By seeking out manufacturers who source only the best materials, finding suitable bariatric equipment becomes an attainable goal. The key lies in finding equipment that employs electric linear actuators with high load capacities. TiMOTION’s line of custom linear actuators and accessories for the healthcare market is perfectly designed to account for higher weight individuals. In this paper, we will discuss the rise of the obesity epidemic as it relates to healthcare. At the end, we will discuss some applications that our linear actuators can be used in to create top of the line bariatric medical equipment.
Overweight vs. Obese
For those unfamiliar with the topic, obesity and overweight may seem like interchangeable terms. However, there are important distinctions. In order to understand the difference, one must understand the concept of the “Body Mass Index,” or “BMI.” A person’s BMI is a number that represents his or her height to weight proportion. It is calculated using either formula below:
A normal BMI would be in the range of 18.5 – 24.9. An overweight individual would have a BMI of 25 – 29.9. Anything 30 or above is considered obese. There are even different classes within obese. Here is a helpful chart outlining these distinctions:
The Rise of Bariatrics
Obesity in particular has been rising steadily in the United States over the past few decades. Recent estimates suggest that over two thirds of adults are overweight, while one third are obese. This has more than doubled since the 1960s. There are a myriad of health problems associated with obesity: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. These health problems send thousands of obese patients into hospitals every year. It is essential for their comfort and wellbeing that these healthcare facilities are well-equipped to provide bariatric care. Bariatrics is defined as the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity. There are many unique challenges that come along with bariatrics, and these challenges should be met with specialized equipment to reduce the strain on the patient as well as the practitioner. Historically, bariatric applications required the application to lift up to 500 pounds; however, recently, this number has increased to 600 pounds. Below are a few of these applications that can be drastically improved with the use of electric linear actuators:
Automated medical beds are essential for all patients admitted into hospitals, regardless of their weight. However, it can be argued that they are even more crucial in the case of obese individuals, for whom movement is a struggle. A medical bed with an actuator that has a high load capacity makes motion easy and smooth for these individuals.
Wheelchairs & Scooters
Limited mobility is a byproduct of obesity. Some overweight and obese individuals rely on mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters in their everyday lives. This allows them to maintain a decent level of independence. In hospitals, these chairs and scooters are used to move the patient in a comfortable manner. Electric linear actuators within these devices provide excellent solutions for motion.
Patient lifts for bariatric patients are absolutely crucial given the handicaps that they face. A lift must have an actuator with a high load capacity so that it is able to lift and reposition an obese patient. As previously stated, limited mobility is an issue with these patients, so lifts provide a solution for them as well as for the healthcare practitioners. Without lifts, the practitioners would either place a tremendous amount of strain on their bodies, or not even be able to perform the necessary care.
TiMOTION Actuators & Accessories
Now that we’ve discussed the prevalence of obesity and bariatric healthcare equipment, we will look at some of TiMOTION’s solutions that can be used in these types of equipment.
The TA12 is our medical linear actuator that can support a very high level of weight – up to 12,000N or roughly 2,500 pounds. This is the perfect solution for patient lifts and bariatric beds. It also includes a manual release function on patient lifts, which allows for lowering of the patient in the event of an emergency or electrical power outage.
Our TL3 columns consist of three extruded aluminum tubes that provide lifting and lowering motion in medical carts and beds. It can support up to 4,000N or 900 pounds. These columns give great stability and motion in an application used by obese individuals.
Keeping an obese patient comfortable can be a tricky task. Fortunately, TiMOTION has a large range of controls that allow for precise movement adjustment. The TNP5 series is an impressive control, with 25 buttons and an LCD screen. This surely makes life easier for both the patient and the healthcare professional.
These are just a few examples of our Care Motion product line, but there are endless options due to our customization capabilities. TiMOTION will work alongside you and your business plan to provide high quality linear actuators for your healthcare equipment. For more information on TiMOTION’s products, visit our website or contact a member of our sales team.
As we have seen, it is no longer feasible to ignore these growing trends in the field of bariatrics. There are unique challenges that are associated with obese patients, so they require a high level of specialized care. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities must adapt, making it essential that manufacturers keep up and even stay ahead of the trends to provide the best solutions.