Approximately 63.8% of people aged 45-74 in the UK are classified as overweight or obese.*

The obesity crisis remains one of the most pressing public health challenges in the UK and having the correct specialised equipment can benefit a plus size user, reducing the risks to pressure ulcers, bed sores, wounds and other skin infections which can be exacerbated by ill-fitted equipment.

Calculating an adults BMI will help determine whether they are overweight or obese. If their BMI falls between 25 and 29.9, they are considered overweight. However, BMI is not always accurate as muscular people have high BMI, as muscle is heavier than fat, and those with a waist circumference of over 35” (women) and over 40” (men) have a greater risk of becoming morbidly obese. Obesity increases the likelihood of individuals developing various diseases, including high blood pressure and diabetes. These conditions pose significant health risks to affected individuals.

People who are obese accumulate excess fat around the midsection, generally men have an apple-shaped body type and women have a pear-shaped body type, though this can vary in women. It is crucial to identify the appropriate care equipment that benefits specific body types, facilitating better control, comfort, and independence. Consequently, reducing the need for user care.    

A pannus is an apron of excess skin and fat hanging from the abdomen below the waistline. This excess skin and fat are secondary to weight gain and can sometimes cover the anterior thighs, hips, and knees. A large pannus can lead to severe impacts on patients' mobility and activities of daily life. The grading system below is a good guide to make a distinction between them.


Sourcing the right bariatric care equipment to enhance the user’s quality of life

There are several factors to consider when assessing any care equipment for a bariatric user, such as, height, weight, weight-bearing capabilities, and body circumference. The users condition also needs to be taken into consideration as this may affect transfer or repositioning activities of the user.

The right care equipment for bariatric users is crucial for their safety, comfort, mobility and to ensure service providers meet their legal obligation to provide safe systems of work to reduce risks. By investing in specialised care equipment and tailoring care to meet their specific needs, healthcare providers can ensure that bariatric individuals receive the best possible care and support.

  • Bariatric users often have unique physical needs and challenges due to their weight and size.
  • Inadequate equipment can lead to strain and injuries for both the user and carer.
  • The right care equipment should help to distribute pressure evenly, reducing the likelihood of pressure ulcers and related complications.

Navigating care equipment selection for plus-size users

Moving and Handling

Techniques for smooth and safe transfers

When considering which sling is best suited for a user, it is crucial to assess their needs and level of support required. For instance, toileting slings have minimal material and therefore require users to have good balance. Understanding these factors is essential in selecting the appropriate sling. There are numerous other factors to consider when purchasing a sling, these include:

  • Ensuring the slings weight capacity exceeds the users’ weight for optimal comfort and ensuring the right support for preserving their dignity during lifting and transferring procedures.
  • Lifting a bariatric user requires careful positioning to avoid strain and injury for both the user and the carers. Improper positioning of the sling can lead to discomfort or unsafe transfer. But also, lifting the user from a reclined position can cause breathing difficulties.  
  • Make sure the sling accommodates various body shapes and sizes so that the bariatric user can fit without causing strain when transferring. It’s crucial to carry out assessments to help you choose the correct slings and establish the clinical implications of body shapes where weight is distributed.
  • Another thing to consider is whether or not the users will be transferred during bathing or be positioned in the sling for a longer period of time. Slings with holes will better suit for bathing, allowing water to drip through, and for an insitu or for longer period of sitting, then a material that won’t cause skin irritations like polyester material would be ideal.  

Investing in the correct bariatric sling is crucial for addressing these issues. The sling should be designed to support the weight and size of the user, ensuring their safety. With diverse sizes available, it is important to choose a sling that the user feels comfortable in. Additionally, it is crucial to ensure that the sling has enough fabric to securely hold the user without causing skin irritation or infections.

Discover our range of AltoSling options:

To help make your selection, try our online product selector tool found on the AltoSlings page.

Bariatric patient ceiling hoists

In the healthcare industry, the importance of tailored solutions for patient care cannot be overstated. Bariatric ceiling hoists, specifically designed to assist individuals with obesity and mobility challenges, play a pivotal role in ensuring safe and dignified care. Here's why these specialised hoists are indispensable:

  1. Safety First: Bariatric patients often face increased risks during transfers and mobility. Bariatric ceiling hoists provide a secure and reliable method of transferring patients, reducing the risk of injury to both patients and caregivers.
  2. Enhanced Dignity: Maintaining patient dignity is a fundamental aspect of healthcare. Bariatric ceiling hoists facilitate dignified transfers and mobility support, ensuring patients feel respected and comfortable throughout their care journey.
  3. Caregiver Well-being: Caring for bariatric patients can be physically demanding. Bariatric ceiling hoists alleviate the strain on healthcare providers by assisting with patient transfers, reducing the risk of caregiver injuries, and improving overall efficiency.
  4. Inclusive Healthcare: Healthcare facilities that invest in bariatric ceiling hoists demonstrate their commitment to inclusive care. These hoists enable healthcare providers to accommodate a broader range of patients, fostering a more inclusive and equitable healthcare environment.
  5. Positive Patient Outcomes: By using bariatric ceiling hoists, healthcare providers can ensure that patients receive the appropriate care they need promptly. This can lead to better patient outcomes and overall satisfaction.

Incorporating bariatric ceiling hoists into healthcare facilities is not just about addressing practical needs; it's about upholding the values of safety, dignity, and inclusivity in healthcare. These hoists are a testament to the industry's commitment to providing the highest standard of care to all patients, regardless of their mobility challenges.

Hoisting plus size users requires specialised design layouts and additional space compared to a normal setup. The goal is to ensure that these users are hoisted to a height that allows them to be comfortably seated and safely transferred between locations.

Our top ceiling hoist products for plus size users are as follows:

Read our great Care Spaces case study that shares how our GoLift-1000 tandem unit ceiling hoist system worked wonders for a plus size user.

Bathing and Hygiene

Specialist bathing equipment can be purchased or customised to meet the specific needs of bariatric users, addressing the need for a more adequately proportioned product for comfort, and the increased risk of pressure ulcers and other skin issues associated with their condition. By distributing pressure evenly across the body, these tailored solutions aim to mitigate the development of pressure ulcers. Additionally, the incorporation of pressure relief cushions as accessories, further aids in the prevention of sores and the promotion of overall skin health.

Bariatric shower chairs

Getting the right shower chair is essential for a bariatric user in order for them to feel comfortable and secure during their bathing routine. Our shower chairs are innovatively designed to help different user needs and can help with a range of factors that would need to be considered. For example, a plus size user will need a seat that is further forward with a slackened backrest to accommodate a gluteal shelf. The correct seat depth will increase pelvic stability for those with a gluteal shelf. A bulbous shelf causes forward sitting and hips are pushed upwards relative to the plane of the persona back. 

Without additional support a gluteal shelf can push a person anteriorly causing a posterior pelvic tilt – our adjustable RAZ shower commode chair can be altered as a user’s shape and weight changes, providing long term support if their weight increases or decreases.

Large lower limbs can prevent a person’s ability to flex at the knees and their ability to support their feet when sitting is impaired as a result – adjustable foot plates on the RAZ can accommodate this.

There are a variety of factors to consider when assessing a shower chair for a bariatric user. From our experience we have found that there are three critical points to consider, ensuring maximum efficiency and comfort for both the user and the carer.  

  • The user transfer method
  • The durability of the product
  • The aperture size

It’s important to note that with our RAZ shower chair range, the seat aperture can be designed with a front, side or back opening and the pelvic tilt can be adjusted.  Also, the shape of the seat helps part the buttocks is a big plus which should perhaps be included.

The challenges and consequences of ill-fitting equipment

Having the wrong shower chair for bariatric users can have detrimental consequences, impacting their safety and comfort. Insufficient support and stability from an ill-fitting chair can increase the risk of falls and accidents during bathing. Bariatric users may struggle to maintain balance, exacerbating this risk. Additionally, standard shower chairs may not be equipped to bear the weight of these users, leading to potential structural failure, and posing a serious safety hazard.

When hoisted onto a non-tilting chair, bariatric users are placed at the front edge of the seat, causing a range of issues. This improper positioning can lead to falls and difficulties in repositioning the client. Additionally, sitting too far forward places excessive load on the front castors, making manoeuvring the chair more challenging.

Transferring a bariatric user into a tilting chair solves these problems. The user is positioned comfortably at the back, and the sloped seat allows for easier repositioning. Ensure the user is fully on the seat surface by opting for a tilting chair.

In summary, the use of an incorrect shower chair for a bariatric user poses several risks. These risks encompass not only their safety, comfort and dignity but also negative emotional and psychological impacts. It is imperative to provide shower chairs that are specifically designed for bariatric individuals in order to mitigate the potential for falls and subsequent injuries. By doing so, we can effectively reduce healthcare costs associated with such incidents.

Our top shower chair choices for plus size users are below.

To help make your selection, try our online product selector tool found on the shower chairs page.

Suitable bathing solutions equipped to work for any environment setting 

Bariatric shower trolleys are designed to increase the level of comfort and stability plus size users gain, with their generous platform size with folding side rails either side for movement and also easy access for the carer. Our range offers premium solutions for a safe and secure environment for bathing, with generous weight capacities and wide platform width.    

Our Bariatric Barella shower trolley stands out as a pioneering healthcare solution tailored to the unique needs of individuals requiring care. With an impressive weight capacity of up to 225kg, it is composed to accommodate a wide range of patient sizes, ensuring that they receive the utmost care and dignity during their bathing routine.

This trolley's standout feature lies in its cutting-edge technology – twin electric actuators. These synchronised actuators work in tandem, effortlessly lifting and tilting the platform. This innovative design not only eases the physical strain on carers but also provides a smooth, controlled, and precise experience for the user. The ability to tilt the platform allows for optimal positioning during care activities, enhancing patient comfort and ease of access.

In addition to its advanced functionality, its heavy-duty chassis is engineered to withstand the rigors of daily bathing in both a private and multi-user environment settings. This robust construction ensures that the trolley consistently delivers peak performance, even in demanding clinical environments.

Elevating the user’s comfort with the Coral Maxi shower trolley

Among our outstanding offerings, the Coral Maxi shower trolley stands as a testament to our commitment to providing comfort and dignity in care. The Coral Maxi shower trolley is specifically engineered to provide an unparalleled bathing experience for plus-size users. With a generous surface area measuring 900mm internally, this trolley ensures ample space for rolling and bathing, promoting ease of movement and comfort during the bathing process.

One of its standout features is its remarkable weight capacity, capable of accommodating individuals weighing up to 250kg. This remarkable weight limit allows for the safe and secure care of individuals of varying sizes, ensuring their comfort and peace of mind during the bathing process. It’s design detail, combines robust construction with user-friendly features. Its durable build guarantees long-lasting performance, making it an invaluable addition to any care facility or home care setting.


Bariatric Barella Shower Trolley

Coral Maxi Shower Trolley


2020mm x 900 mm

2160mm x 1060mm




Height adjustment control



Weight capacity



Our top shower trolley choices for plus size users are below.

To help make your selection, try our online product selector tool found on our website shower trolleys page.


Further reading:

  1. *Obesity Profile: short statistical commentary 05/2023
  2. Overview of obesity – NHS 
  3. The guide to the Handling of people 6th edition from BackCare

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