Are we prepared for a growing population? Morbid obesity and its implications in Irish emergency departments
B. Geary; N. Collins
Year of publication
Eur J Emerg Med
Two percent of the Irish population is morbidly obese with this figure expected to rise significantly. This survey aimed to establish the present logistical capacity of Irish emergency departments (EDs) to adequately cater for the bariatric patients. A telephone survey was carried out of 37 health service executive EDs over a 5-day period in October 2008. Questions were posed to the departmental lead nurse regarding facilities (Supplemental digital content 1). No ED had adequate facilities. Two of 37 units questioned had on-site hoists designed to lift patients of more than 170 kg. Four departments had rapid access to mattresses within the hospital and three of these four had access to beds and trolleys for weighing patients. Two percent of the Irish population is morbidly obese with this figure expected to rise significantly to more than 150 kg. One department had access to commodes, chairs, wheelchairs and trolleys from inpatient services. All departments had extra-wide blood pressure cuffs and 12 had a difficult airways trolley. Necessary infrastructure and equipment for bariatric patients is deficient in the majority of Irish EDs.