Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Obesity Epidemic: Heavy Toll For Health Care Workers

Being fat is not just unhealthy for fat people, it's bad for the health care workers who have to lift them. Dealing with obese patients has induced one hospital to kick off
an Internet-based initiative to provide comprehensive answers to hospitals asking for help in meeting the needs of heavy patients – including proper ergonomics and sensitivity training for nurses and employees, according to Sandy Wise, the company's senior director of medical service lines.

Dealing with obese patients has raised safety issues because the federal government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that workers manually lift no more than 50 pounds.

"This is a safety issue, as well as a quality-of-care issue for patients and health care workers," Ms. Wise said.