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Best practice: how to weigh someone in a wheelchair

Best practice: how to weigh someone in a wheelchair

Pictured above: Marsden M-651 Wheelchair Scale.

When it comes to weighing patients who are unable to stand, they can be weighed using a chair scale or in their wheelchair on a wheelchair scale.

And at Marsden, with over 90 years of experience, we want you to make the most from your order.

One query our customer service team is often faced with is how to weigh someone in a wheelchair – so, for hospital and care home staff needing a little help, this blog post is here for you.

Do you need a chair scale or a wheelchair scale?

Marsden offers chair scales, wheelchair weighing solutions, and provides free training on a wide range of equipment.

Wheelchair scales allows the patient to remain in their own wheelchair, where they feel comfortable – they also save time as the patient doesn’t need to be transferred to a chair scale.

At Marsden, we have wheelchair scales in our range which support standing too - as the Marsden M-652 and Marsden M-653 are fitted with handrails. Alternatively, the Marsden M-640 is multi-functional and features a base large enough for a wheelchair, a fold down seat seat and handrails for patients less steady on their feet.

Another factor to take into account before making a purchase is if the patients are being weighed in a weight sensitive environment. All Marsden chair scales feature the indicator on the back of the scale, so only the medical professional can see it. Otherwise, our popular Marsden M-650 and Marsden M-610 wheelchair scales feature remote indicators, allowing discreet weighing.

We’ve recently launched our best-selling M-650 wheelchair scale with a white base to suit dementia patients. Through much research we discovered that an incorrect use of colour can cause dementia patients to have high stress levels and it can increase the risk of falling, making the traditional black scales unsuitable for their use.

Our wheelchair scales have been designed to enable weighing of patients of any size, thanks to large base dimensions and a minimum capacity of 300kg. The Marsden M-610 wheelchair weigh beams can be used to weigh almost any wheelchair thanks to the ability to move the beams any selected distance apart. With chair scales, you are limited by the dimensions of the seat – though we have designed our M-200 chair scale with bariatric patients in mind.

For some individuals who are unsteady on their feet, a chair scale is the easiest and safest weighing solution. Using chair scale not only eliminates any risk of falling, but it also saves time as the weight of a wheelchair doesn’t have to be deduced from the overall weight reading.

Marsden’s range of chair scales have been designed to ensure comfortable and safe weighing for all. Our latest addition to our chair scales range is the Marsden M-225 which features Body Surface Area calculation – unique to Marsden and can be used for calculating dosages.

Getting the patient into the chair

The process of weighing the patient by this method begins with getting them into the chair.

If the patient is laid on a bed, push the chair close to the bed and apply the brakes on the fitted castors to ensure the scale does not move. Should the patient not be strong enough to lift themselves into a sitting position, place one hand under the patient's legs and the other under their back and slowly raise them up. Ensure that the hinged armrest is in the upright position to make it easier when transferring the patient from the bed to the chair.

To support an individual from standing, position the patient’s feet on the floor and slightly apart to help with balance. Next, face the patient and place their hands on your shoulders for stability. Make sure your feet are a shoulder’s width apart and your knees are slightly bent. Place your arms around the person’s back and clasp your hands together.

To assist them in sitting down, slowly bend your knees and lower the person into the chair. Ensure the patient has both hands on the armrests of the chair as they are gradually being lowered.

Setting up

To make it easy for you, all Marsden wheelchair scales are fitted with the same indicator - as well as the Marsden M-200 and Marsden -210 Chair Scale - so whether you are weighing using the Marsden M-650, Marsden M-651, Marsden M-652 or Marsden M-653 these instructions apply. If you are using the M-610 Wheelchair Weigh Beams, suitably position the beams before turning the scale on.

To get started, press the ON/OFF button to turn on the scale. If a figure other than 0.0kg is displayed, you’ll need to press the Zero button once to reset the scale. When zero is displayed on the indicator, you are ready to start weighing.

Weighing the patient - using a wheelchair scale

If you are using a wheelchair scale and want to calculate weight and BMI accurately, you will need to remove the weight of the wheelchair from the total weight reading.

Push the empty wheelchair onto the scale and press the Tare button. Then, when you remove the wheelchair from the scale a minus reading will be shown on the indicator. Next, roll the wheelchair and the patient onto the scale and only the patient’s weight will be displayed.

Alternatively, you can deduct the weight of the wheelchair using the numeric keypad. Firstly, turn the scale on and wait for zero to be displayed. Press the Tare button and enter in the weight of the wheelchair using the numeric keypad, then press the Hold key. A minus reading will now show and you are ready to weigh the patient.

Weighing the patient – using a chair scale

When using a chair scale to get a patient's weight, ensure that the patient has their feet on the adjustable foot rests and their arms on the armrests in order to get an accurate reading. Once the patient is sat in the chair scale their weight will appear on the indicator, located at the back of the chair scale.

Calculating BMI

To work out the patient’s BMI, press the BMI button to begin. You can then enter the height using the numeric keys. Press the Hold button to confirm the height and BMI will be displayed.

Shop our full range of wheelchair scales and chair scales. To find out more about how to weigh patients in a wheelchair watch this video on the Marsden M-650 Wheelchair Scale. For more information on how to weigh a patient in a wheelchair, call 01709 364296 or contact us here.