Choosing a Program
What You Need to Know
Before making a decision, here's what you should look for in a Bariatric Surgery Program:
- Look for a "Multidisciplinary Program." This involves a dedicated Program Coordinator, Nursing Coordinator, Medical Director and a dedicated Bariatric unit in the hospital with specially trained Bariatric nurses, not surgical nurses who happen to take care of Bariatric patients. Ask if there are Bariatric trained dieticians, exercise therapists, Internal Medicine physician(s), and psychologists who are available and have special Bariatric training.
- Support Groups are a must. I believe that It is ideal if the General type of support group (versus psychological group) is a joint effort between your surgeon and a well trained former patient. If you are from out of the area, your program should be willing to provide educational materials and training for you to start a support group of your own. Most of my patients feel that a former patient who has the appropriate training is the best choice for a leader. If at all possible, attend support groups for the program that you are evaluating before you make your decision. This will give you the opportunity to visit with other patients who have gone through the program and you will likely get an honest report of their experience.
- Long standing experience of a program is essential. Hospitals are setting up Bariatric programs all over the U.S. and unfortunately the newer ones frequently don’t have the system and the training for the personnel in place and lack the years of experience that enhance patient safety.
- Training for ancillary personnel: these are all the "other" people who work in the hospital - X-Ray technicians, phlebotomists, transporters, nursing assistants, EKG technicians, etc. Remember - everyone who comes into contact with you can either assist you in your recovery or potentially cause a complication for you!