Students studying Level 2 and 3 Health and Social Care courses at TyneMet College were recently introduced to the area of Bariatric Care.

Some students wishing to pursue a career in the care or nursing industry may at some point come in to contact with bariatric patients and this interactive workshop was an ideal way for Alan Stokoe, from Benmor Medical (UK) Ltd, to give the students an understanding of working practices for obese patients.

Care environments have rapidly had to adapt to the challenges of bariatric care but with more understanding of what is involved, health care professionals can implement safe optimum solutions.

Alan discussed many of the issues associated within bariatric care but he also gave sound advice that the students could take on board. Subjects discussed in the workshop included; treating the patient as a person, understanding their need and expectations, protecting their dignity, safe patient handling, ensuring that proper bariatric care and equipment is in place for the patient and adjusting this to fit the needs of the patient.

Bariatric Care was a new subject to many of the students and the workshop brought up problems and solutions that the students never thought existed.

Alan brought with him brochures and leaflets showing the different types of equipment that care homes and hospitals now install to help their patients, these ranged from oversized wheelchairs, beds, chairs, commodes and lifting equipment.

He also brought with him a ‘bari suit’ which weighs nine and half kilos and is filled with a mixture of beads and padding to simulate the body movement restrictions that obese patients experience.

Students tried on the suit and were amazed at how hard it was to execute simple movements like bending, sitting and walking.

Sandy Swinhoe, Teacher in Health and Social Care, TyneMet College, said:

“I was delighted that Alan was able to come in and speak to the students. His workshop was an eye opener for all of us.

“The students were really interested in this area of care which is a growing concern now for most care and nursing establishments.”

Alan said:

“Bariatric problems are unfortunately a growing problem within the NHS. Benmor Medical (UK) Ltd provide training, equipment and support to healthcare colleagues within the care sector.

“The day with the students was very informative and fulfilling. They were keen to learn about all aspects of bariatric care and the problems which would be facing them as healthcare professionals dealing with these potential patients in their future careers. ”

For more information about Health and Social Care courses at TyneMet, call and speak to a student advisor on 0191 229 5000, email or visit