Everything You Need To Know About Medical Weighing Equipment

 

Overview

When working in the medical industry accuracy and reliability are vitally important. This has never seemed more relevant than in the midst of a global pandemic.

Medical scales are an essential piece of machinery, entrusted to determine  successful diagnosis, operations and other services.

They are designed to be used in sterile, medical environments such as hospitals, veterinary surgeries, doctors, retirement and care homes and small practices.

Manufactured with a high level of accuracy, they are also designed to be both easy to clean and long lasting. That durability facilitates accurate results time and time again.

Under the 1993 Non-Automatic Weight Instruments (NAWI) directive, a scale can be certified as a Class III standard. This means the scales can be lawfully used for controlled purposes.

While the marker  also applies to retail scales the NAWI directive specifies: “all scales used in the determination of mass in the practice of medicine, weighing patients for the purpose of monitoring, diagnosis and medical treatment must be medically approved”.

The design of medical instruments must be approved by a Notified Body under the Non-Automatic Weighing Instruments Regulations of 2000. This came into force on 1st January 2003 and means anyone purchasing  scales for matters medical must acquire those that are  Class III approved.

 

How Are Medical Scales Graded?

grading-medical-scales

The Non-Automatic Weighing Instruments (NAWI) criteria was established in 2003 to ensure that scales are the most accurate and reliable on the market. Inaccurate readings could lead to mistreatment with dangerous and fatal consequences. All medical scales have to be Class III approved and, to guarantee ongoing reliability and accuracy, be maintained annually through yearly accuracy tests and repair work undertaken by a qualified engineer. 

Want to know more about the grading of medical scales read our blog here.

 

Different Types of Medical Scale

Medical scales are many and varied. Making sure you are using the right type can make weighing easier and more efficient.

Different scales will be required for weighing people than weighing animals. Similarly, alternate scales will be needed for swabs and the measurement of organs. Medical professionals must also factor in location. Certain equipment will be readily available in a hospital but not a care home, for instance.

The main types of medical scales available for purchase are Theatre, swab & mortuary scales, bed weighing scales, flat scales, baby scales and wheelchair scales.

One similarity between them all is they are calibrated at the highest possible level

See the 4 types of weighing scales found in hospitals in our blog.

 

Theatre, Swab and Mortuary Scales

Making sure your patients are getting the most accurate diagnosis and treatment is of the utmost importance in any healthcare system. This is why theatre scales are invaluable. Also known as swab scales, swab and organ weighing depend on this type of equipment.

In situations where good hygiene and accuracy are fundamental, theatre scales offer the highest quality. They are known to weigh to the nearest 1g, which is incredibly helpful for doctors and practitioners. They also repel any hint of contamination, whilst being splash and waterproof. This further limits the risk of swab counting errors.

Just how important are theatre scales? Find out here.

 

What Are Bed Weighing Scales and How To Use Them

using-bed-weighing-scales

Bed weighing scales are designed to simplify the weighing of patients who are either bed bound or unable to stand for any real length of time.

 They are typically found in hospitals and care homes and usually come with a Tare and a pre-set Tare function built in. This allows the doctor or practitioner to remove the weight of the bed from the scale itself.

For patients who are bed-ridden, a bed scales means limited disruption.

There are many different examples of bed scales, including portable options which can be moved from patient to patient. There are also those that come in fixed position and certain models built into the bed structure itself.

Read more about weighing bed ridden patients here.

 

What Is A Flat Scale?

A flat scale - or floor scale as they are otherwise known - has a flat surface for patients to step onto and view their weight. This weighing equipment is most popular in doctor’s surgeries, clinics, hospitals, gyms and pharmacies. 

With floor scales being used for different aspects of weighing patients, it can be hard to know which one is best to use for reliability and accuracy. With many key features to look out for such as accreditation, sensors, design and capabilities, there is a lot to consider.

Read about which floor scales are most reliable in our blog.

 

What Are Baby Scales?

baby-weighing-apparatus

Weighing a new-born baby is a vital part of the initial observations which are taken at birth.  Recording weight provides parents and medical professions with a starting point from which to monitor a baby’s early progress and the likes of milk intake.

An accurate weight measurement can be enough to highlight the need for additional treatment and care early on.

What Are Baby Scales Used For?

Not only can baby scales be used for weighing a newborn, but many also come complete with storage functions which mean readings can be compared to previous measurements, even if it is removed from power.

Baby weighing scales can also be used to measure a baby’s length given many modern scales now include  a measuring rod. This can be used in conjunction with a weight measure and assist in capturing BMI.

Some brands of baby weighing scales also have a Breast Milk Intake Function, commonly known as BMIF. This allows medical professions to measure a baby’s intake with incredible accuracy and reliability.

Find out more about what baby weighing scales can be used for here.

 

Features of Baby Scales

The very nature of baby weighing scales demands accuracy.

There are a handful of  features which allow for this and should come as standard. Be on the lookout for them.

If the scale is battery powered, this  means professionals can use it whilst seeing patients at home, recharging via a mains adaptor at a later point.

When weighing babies, it can sometimes be difficult to remove all their layers and keep them comfortable. This is where a TARE function comes into its own. It’s far easier to remove the weight of garments such as blankets and nappies this way, arriving at an accurate weight eventually.

There are many extra features which wouldn’t be deemed essential but are very useful to the medical professional. Read about them here.

 

What Is A Wheelchair Scale?

As the name explains a wheelchair scale allows individuals who are confined to a wheelchair to be weighed in an accurate yet comfortable fashion.

There are many different options available to weigh a person in a wheelchair, including platform scales, beam scales, chair scales, hoist scales and platform scales. With the latter being the most reliable and effective method to weight a patient using a wheelchair.

In this scenario the individual isn’t required to move onto another chair and can instead be wheeled directly onto the platform, wherein  a reading is instantly shown.

These medical scales combine the weight of the wheelchair and the weight of the patient, so medical professionals need to know the weight of the former before they proceed.

Read more about the different weighing options available here.

 

How Do Wheelchair Scales Work?

wheelchair

A common feature in hospitals and care homes wheelchair scales  are now becoming popular in private settings, with the rise of portable wheelchair scales notable in recent years.

A wheelchair scale allows a patient to be weighed reliably and accurately without causing discomfort.

Many scales now come with a TARE function, which allows you keep the weight of individual wheelchairs on the scale so it can subtract this from the weighing total on completion. This removes the need for complicated calculations, always welcome considering the workload placed on medical practitioners.

Find out more about wheelchair scales accuracy here.

There are two methods for using wheelchair scales to weigh an individual. The first is to use the TARE button on the scales, which will record the weight of the wheelchair. From here you should return with the wheelchair occupied, knowing the scale will only show the patient’s weight.

The second method is to remove the weight yourself. It’s worth noting; some wheelchair scales will have the ability to remove the wheelchair weight without having to weigh the empty wheelchair beforehand, this courtesy of having hundreds of standard wheelchair weights programmed into the scales. This also allows you to note the patients’ weight without having to do the calculations yourself.

Read more details on the different methods to use wheelchair scales.

How To Calibrate Medical Scales

A common denominator with all types of medical scales is the need for accuracy testing. As mentioned, medical scales need to be the most reliable and accurate around, something only made possible through maintenance and their own health checks.

Every time they are used the parts within them move slightly and components are placed under strain. This will lead to inaccuracies over time, even among premium devices.

Age and handling will impact scales over time. If they are moved regularly, as baby scales often are by midwives, they will be affected by changes in temperature, among other factors.

Thankfully the likes of Solent Scales are on-hand to offer complete service solutions, proven to keep medical scales in working order.

How often should you calibrate medical scales? Find out here.

Will Medical Scales Be Replaced By Smart Scales?

With the rise of technology throughout the medical industry it is no surprise to see the rise of smart scales being used privately.

With the ability to connect to your smartphone and automatically upload, not to mention the option to measure other body stats such as muscle mass and body fat percentage, it is no wonder they are growing in popularity.

This type of scale represents a significant leap forward the way we can share information from home with medical professions. Even so, there remain several drawbacks. These include  the amount of trust given to the patient and the technology, with varying levels of success. In our expert opinion there remains no substitute  for sterile, calibrated scales in medical environments handled by trained professionals.

Discover more about Smart Scales here.

How Often Should You Clean Medical Scales?

Any equipment which is located in a healthcare or medical environment should be cleaned regularly and made to be easily cleaned without taking up too much time.

This has become even more apparent with the rise of the coronavirus pandemic throughout the world.

Many medical scales have been manufactured and produced to be wipe clean. In short, this  allows the scale to be cleaned easily between patients.

Read our blog on cleaning medical scales during the coronavirus here.

Viruses, especially COVID-19, survive on surfaces for days and can be tracked in your shoes.

Germ covered shoes can contaminate even the cleanest of scales, no matter how often they are cleaned. This is why HealthySole is a great addition to any medical setting, given it is proven to combat this threat.

HealthySole destroys up to 99.9% of germs on soles and feet using UVC light and is the quickest method of keeping shoes from spreading bacteria.

 See the HealthySole here.

If you would like to know more about medical weighing equipment contact Solent Scales.

 

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