What's The Best Method To Weigh A Bed-Ridden Patient?


Weighing a patient in a care setting is a vital part of the care process. Not only does it allow for medical records to be updated and maintained, but it also allows for the correct care and treatment to be given to the patient. Recording a patient’s weight will also allow medical staff to assess their nutritional needs.

Weighing a patient who is ambulant is not something which gives us any cause for thought but weighing a patient who is bed-ridden or bed-bound could be a challenging task without the appropriate weighing scale. 

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Different Devices for Weighing Bed-Ridden Patients

There are different options available for weighing patients, including patients with limited mobility and those who are bed-ridden or immobile.


Chair Scales

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Medical chair scales, or sit-on chair scales, are an excellent way to weigh patients who have limited mobility, or who cannot stand long enough to be weighed on a traditional floor scale. They are easy to move around and bring to the patient when needed.

Similarly, a wheelchair scale is also very useful when weighing a person with limited or no mobility and wheelchair users generally. This is a ramped platform on the floor which a wheelchair can be wheeled onto to weigh the patient.

With both of these chair scale options, a patient must be able to sit in a chair to be weighed. And like floor scales, they are best placed on a hard and flat surface for accurate measurements. This would not necessarily be the best option for a patient who is bed-ridden or completely immobile.

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Bed Scales

Bed Scales - Solent Scales

Bed scales are ideal instruments to weigh patients who are bed-ridden and positioned permanently lying down, with their biggest benefit being that a patient does not have to be moved from their bed. This means that when weighing the patient there is minimal disruption, making the process easy and comfortable; a high priority.

Like the chair scale, bed scales are available in different formats. There are portable bed scales which consist of portable floor pads – this type of scale means that the scale can be brought to the patient. Or there’s a more permanent solution which is a bed scale fixed to the floor. In some cases beds are available with a built-in scale.

If budget allows, a bed scale would be the ideal method for weighing a bed-ridden patient.

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Hoist Scales

Hoist scales are designed to provide an effective method of accurately weighing a bed-ridden or immobile patient. Medical hoist scales are usually a more cost-effective scale than a bed scale. While usually being highly transportable, the downside to choosing a hoist scale is that the patient has to be put into the hoist and then lifted, which may cause a degree of discomfort and disturbance.

Medical Scales Weighing Equipment - Solent Scales

Class III Approved Scales

Medical scales must be accurate and reliable. A scale which is not accurate may lead to errors in diagnosis and treatment which could prove fatal.

To ensure that the scale being used for medical purposes is accurate it must be Class III approved under the NAWI directive.

A Class III approved scale must be accuracy tested at least annually to ensure the scale remains reliable and accurate for use in a professional medical setting.

Often, if a non-Class III approved scale is being used incorrectly in a medical setting it will be due to the procurement officer being misinformed during the procurement process. To avoid this, ensure you buy your Class III medical scales from a supplier who understands the Class ratings of scales, and who is fully informed. Your medical scale supplier should be able to answer your questions and advise on the most suitable scale for your needs.

View the medical scales available at Solent Scales, or speak to a knowledgeable member of our sales team to source the right scales for your needs.

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