Finding size-friendly medical products can be very difficult. Typically larger items such as wider wheelchairs, longer blood pressure monitor cuffs and roomy patient gowns are only available in hospital supply stores. But, knowing specifically what you need and what to look for can make it easier to find what you need.
What’s Available in Size-Friendly Medical Products
Standard wheelchairs have a 22 inches wide seat. Wheelchairs with wider seats are available from medical supply retailers. Here are some suggestions:
- Call your local hospital and ask for the home care division. The nurses there should know local sources for larger-sized chair rentals.
- Contact the Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy departments of large nursing homes.
- Several wheelchair catalogs carry large-sized chairs. In the U.S., SIZEwise Rentals rents wheelchairs. Their parent company, Wheelchairs of Kansas, sells custom-made wheelchairs. PDG Mobility sells wheelchairs for big and supersize people. PDG Mobility has distributors in the US and Canada.
- Some retailers offer wide wheelchairs including Amazon, Wal-Mart and 1800wheelchair.com.
Home Blood Pressure Monitors
The standard size blood pressure cuff should not be used on a person with an arm bigger around than 14″ or so. It will give a falsely high reading.
Options are to:
- Using a large size cuff or thigh cuff (most doctor’s offices have both) on the upper arm
- Use the standard size cuff on the forearm
- Take the reading with a wrist cuff
The most economical monitor is a cuff and stethoscope, available at medical supply companies. Some home models come with D-ring cuffs that are easy to put on with one hand, and have the stethoscope diaphragm screwed into the cuff so you don’t need a hand to hold the stethoscope. You can buy these with a regular or large cuff. Learning to take your own blood pressure by stethoscope takes some practice, but once you learn, you can better gauge the accuracy than with an automatic model.
Wrist monitors are simple and easy to use. They fit wrists up to 8″ around. Omron offers several kinds. They pump and give you an automatic reading.
A nurse wrote: “Healthcare professionals will offer varying opinions on their accuracy….but at least it gives a supersized individual ease and comfort of keeping tabs on their pressure at home….I would suggest to anyone using a wrist blood pressure machine to take it when having their pressure checked at their physician’s office, health fair, drug store, etc., to see if there is any difference in readings.”
Open MRI Machines
MRI machines are tubes and some big people can’t fit into them. Some “open” MRI machines are available and may be able to accommodate big folks (as well as folks with claustrophobia). Your doctor or local hospital can give you the location of open MRI machines in your area. If you live in California, call Kaiser or Open Advanced MRI for locations.
(Editor’s Note: Added by GrandStyle staff)
In the doctor’s office or the hospital you can request a maternity patient gown. They are larger across the shoulders and the tummy area. Consider buying your own gown for extra convenience (and to avoid the teddy bears and duckies that might show up on the maternity gowns they may give you in response to your need for a larger gown!). Larger patient gowns are available from several retailers including Amazon.
Copyright by Stef Jones ([email protected]). Permission is granted to copy and redistribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial, educational use only, provided that this copyright notice is not removed or altered. No portion of this work may be sold, either by itself or as part of a larger work, without the express written permission of the author. This restriction covers all publication media, including electronic media.
Editor’s Note: Information and source links added or updated by GrandStyle where noted.