Nurses’ vantage point: Scales with high weight capacity becoming the norm

Its interesting to personally experience “actual data” that confirms trends that are reported in the media, especially from “soundbite” news sources such as CNN, MSNBC, and the ultimate champions of soundbites: national network news. ” The fattening of America” is a popular news theme, but in this case there’s ample, hard statistics that say the weight gain and obesity trend in the U.S. is very real

In our corner of the world we’ve experienced our own imperical evidence.  Calls come in from practicing professional nurses at work who are looking for information on patient scales for their medical practice.  Several aspects are typically asked about:  column scales vs. floor scales, mechanical vs. digital (there’s no reason not to go with a digital scale in any medical environment), portability, body-mass-index functionality, and last but not least among other things asked, weight capacity questions.

 Less than a decade ago it was normal to see standard (non-bariatric) patient scales with weight capacities of 400-440 lbs. max.  Now, based on the requests and comments we receive, ” the new normal” is really 500-550 lbs. for standard patient scales.  Scary, that is.  These days we need 500-550 lbs. capacity patient scales to address the typical patient population of a Primary Care physician’s office or practice group.  Its not just a soundbite of questionable accuracy reported on a news media outlet; this time its right from the horse’s mouth – us…and we should know.

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