How to choose the right medical scale

Body weight is a key assessment tool in medical care! Whether it's for direct usage such as calculation of medication dosage, or indirect measure of overall wellbeing, accurate weight measurement cannot be underestimated!
This article provides a quick overview assisting procurement experts in selecting the most appropriate weighing equipment, and operators in best practices for use!
Selecting the right type of scale
Consider the patient's clinical condition and level of mobility. Specialized devices such as Bed Scales, Chair Scales, Wheelchair Scales, or Lift Scales can reduce staff workload and increase safety when it comes to measuring patients with limited mobility.
Different countries may have different regulations and requirements, but generally speaking, it is recommended that medical scales have Class III level of accuracy, even if it isn't technically required by the government.
Before measurement
- If there is a bubble level indicator, rotate adjustment feet to ensure platform is level
- Catheter bags and other drainage devices should be emptied before measurement OR use tare function to remove weight
- Scale should be placed on hard, flat surface
- Scale should not touch wall or surrounding furniture
- Scale should be set to zero before usage
- Clean scale before usage (typically, parts that patient will contact) with alcohol wipes to minimize infection risk
- Remove heavy clothing from patient. If tare function is available, it can be used instead to deduct clothing weight
 General tips for measurement
Stand-on Floor Scales
- Ensure patient is standing upright, and not supporting their weight by leaning against a wall, furniture, or a walking aid (exception applies for handrail scales that are designed to support patient weight without affecting accuracy)
Bed Scales
- Input/record weight of empty bed - Charder bed scales have a pre-tare function, allowing for bed weight to be saved into scale memory for future use
(Weight of bed already deducted prior to measurement)
- Push bed with patient lying on it onto scale platform
(Displayed weight is that of patient's excluding bed)
Patient Transfer Scale
- Ensure that if patient's body exceeds size of scale, that they are not touching the ground/wall
Infant Scales
- Ensure infant is placed entirely on measurement tray
Chair Scales
- Ensure patient's feet are positioned on the footrests
Wheelchair Scales
- Record weight of empty wheelchair - alternatively, if scale has pre-tare function, wheelchair weight deduction can be saved into scale memory for future use
- Push wheelchair with patient sitting in it onto scale platform. For safety reasons, patient's feet should be positioned on the footrests, though this will not affect measurement accuracy
Lift Scales
- Ensure that scale and lift system are compatible
- Check that sling is suitable size for patient
- Ensure patient's clothing and other objects are not caught in sling
- Ensure patient is lifted entirely off the ground

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