Staff a British hospital have been wearing a “fat suit” to better understand the problems of their obese patients.
The clinical staff at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are said to be “walking in patients’ shoes” thanks to a £1,000 donation by the Friends of Peterborough Hospitals. The hospital is located about two hours outside of London.
By using the suit, purchased from the American branch of Sunflower Medical, staff experience real life situations when caring for a patient who is almost 400 pounds. The education received will help to reduce injuries to both patients and staff by highlighting the limitations.
The number of the hospital’s patients weighing over 392 pounds has risen from six in 2010 to 52 in 2013.
When worn by staff it is designed to give them the proportions of a 560 pound person and restrict their movement in the way the fat of an obese person would restrict their movement.
“I found it quite uncomfortable to be completely flat on my back,” said Julie Tebb of the hospital’s moving and handling team. ” It restricts my airways, and I find it difficult to breath.”
Moving and handling trainer Rolf Stobbart said the suit helps staff “think about patients in a different way.”