Blessing learning how to improve care for bariatric patients with 350-pound silicone manikin

Blessing Hospital Oscar

QUINCY — Blessing Hospital recently met one of its most helpful patients, and he isn’t human.

Manikins are models of the human body that can be used for medical training. Most manikins resemble a 180-pound male patient who is about six feet tall.

Blessing’s newest silicone manikin, Oscar, is different from these other mankins. Oscar resembles a 350-pound male bariatric patient. Bariatrics is a branch of medicine dealing with the treatment of obesity in patients.

Oscar was received through a grant from the Blessing Foundation. Jonna Egan, the Certified Nursing Assistant training program coordinator at Blessing, said Oscar is shared among the different health care education areas.

“I wanted everybody to be able to share him and utilize him to give that really dignified, quality care for our bariatric population,” Egan said.

Using manikins in training gives nursing students the opportunity to practice before helping patients.

“It’s really important to help build their confidence in their skills on a manikin so they are prepared to safely and successfully do that on a real human,” Egan said.

Haley Boyd is a student working on becoming a CNA. Working with Oscar helps her prepare for the many different people she will one day help.

“We are taking care of all … different types of people,” Boyd said. “We’re dealing with a lot of differences, and we have to notice that … and treat them with care.”

Oscar is the first bariatric manikin used in the region by Blessing Hospital. He is making it easier to educate healthcare providers about helping bariatric patients.

Obesity is growing problem in the country. Forbes reports 41.9 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese, based on data collected between 2017 and 2020,  The same data set suggests 19.7 percent of adolescents and children in the U.S. — 14.7 million individuals — are obese.

Numbers provided by Blessing Hospital show 34 percent of adults in Adams County are obese, one percent higher than the state average and two points above the national average. Obesity is a risk for certain types of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“We actually live in the most bariatric county in the state of Illinois,” Egan said. “There’s a true stigma in healthcare for bariatric populations that can actually lead to them not receiving necessary treatment. That’s what’s so important about Oscar. He’s going to help us end that stigma.”

Bariatric patients must be taken care of differently than other patients, and Oscar helps healthcare providers practice these different methods of administering care. They often require different gowns and will need more attentive cleaning while they are being given a bed bath. 

Oscar helps simulate all of these needs that a real bariatric patient may need, making it easier for healthcare providers in training to prepare for the real deal.

Noah Klauser is a Quincy native and a Culver-Stockton College student serving as an intern for Muddy River News during the spring semester.

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