Choosing the Right Patient Weighing Scale

A patient weighing scale is a device used in doctors’ offices and healthcare facilities to monitor a patient’s weight. Nowadays, some models also measure body mass index (BMI) and other body composition parameters.

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  • What are the different types of patient weighing scales?

    There are two types of patient weighing scales: mechanical and electronic. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of each.

    • Mechanical patient weighing scales
      Advantages: Mechanical or analog scales are the most basic and have been on the market the longest. They are very robust, affordable, and don’t require batteries, making them ideal for routine monitoring of patients without any particular weight problems.
      Disadvantages: They’re fairly rudimentary and not very precise (discrepancies can range from several hundred grams to even a kilo). They also take up more space than a digital scale.
    • Electronic patient weighing scales
      Advantages: Electronic or digital scales are much more precise than mechanical scales (down to the nearest hundred grams). They often have memory storage to keep track of weight trends over a given period, while their display is more legible and their design more sophisticated.
      Disadvantage: Their main disadvantage is that they require batteries.

    Health-O-Meter digital scale

    ADE mechanical scale

    Two Types of Patient Weighing Scales

    • Mechanical (or analog)
    • Electronic (or digital)
  • What are the different configurations of patient weighing scales?

    There are various weighing systems for people, such as platform scales, column scales, suspended scales, or even chairs and beds with built-in scales.

    • Platform scales: Also called floor scales have a platform on which the patient stands to be weighed. These are the most common on the market. There are certain models suitable for obese or wheelchair patients.
    • Column scales: These often have an integrated height measuring rod, allowing you to measure both the person’s weight and height. They are ideal for hospitals, doctors’ offices, and gyms.
    • Beds and chairs with scales: These are for patients unable to stand, such as the elderly, physically disabled, or those with balance problems. Chairs and beds with a built-in weighing system make it possible to measure weight accurately in a way that guarantees patient safety and makes the healthcare professional’s job easier.
    • Hanging scales: Also called suspended scales are useful for weighing people on a hoist, for example. There are also models for weighing babies and small children.

    Some of these weighing systems are portable: compact, light, and easy to transport, they are ideal for at-home care, for example. With electronic models, professionals should check the batteries before leaving their office.

    Seca column scale

    Villard chair scale

    Medisana platform scale

    Detecto hanging scale

  • Where are patient weighing scales used?

    Patient weighing scales are used in a variety of applications, including medical, hospital, home, and fitness, among others.

    • Medical scales: These can be used by healthcare professionals to obtain not only the patient’s weight but also data on their body composition. There are models designed specifically for obese patients, babies, and, in the veterinary field, for animals.
      • For babies: These scales have specific features and accessories for weighing babies.
      • For obese people: These make it possible to monitor the weight of obese patients, for example during a diet. They have the particularity of offering a higher maximum weighing capacity (generally up to 300 kg).
  • What are the main criteria for choosing a patient weighing scale?

    To choose the right scale, it is important to take into account its accuracy, weight, maximum capacity, and operating mode (mechanical or digital).

    • Accuracy: Depending on the intended use, it is essential to consider the scale’s accuracy class. There are four recognized classes in Europe. In the medical field, class III scales are the most commonly used.
    • Weight: The scale’s weight is a factor that needs to be taken into account, especially if you are looking for a portable model or one that you can move around frequently.
    • Maximum weighing capacity: The scale’s maximum capacity is essential, especially for obese patients.
    • Operating mode: Mechanical scales do not require batteries, unlike digital scales, and therefore offer complete autonomy.

    Scales are divided into four precision classes:

    • Class I (special): analytical scales, scales for the pharmaceutical and food industries, fine chemicals, etc.
    • Class II (high): precision scales, for analysis laboratories, etc.
    • Class III (medium): industrial, medical/hospital, commercial scales, etc.
    • Class IV (ordinary): scales for at-home use
  • What additional features can a patient weighing scale have?

    In addition to weighing, some scales have other functions, such as height measurement, direct BMI measurement, or internet capability.

    Wunder scale with height measurement rod

    • Height measurement: This can be taken on scales with height rods.
    • BMI calculation: Scales with bioimpedance analysis capability automatically measure body mass index. Bioimpedance scales also measure the percentage of bone and muscle mass, body fat, and water, among other parameters, and are part of the category of body composition analyzers.
    • Internet connectivity: Certain models can be connected to the internet or a local network. Connected scales are very useful in telemedicine for remotely monitoring the weight of chronic patients (with diabetes, heart failure, etc.) without them having to travel.
  • How much does a patient weighing scale cost?

    You can buy both mechanical and electronic patient weighing scales at an affordable price. The most basic models range from 10 to 50 euros. More sophisticated models, depending on the additional features and precision class, can reach prices of several hundred euros.

  • Do patient weighing scales require maintenance?

    Depending on the application, you’ll need to pay attention to several aspects to best maintain your device and keep it in good condition for longer. Here are some essential aspects:

    • Periodic calibration to ensure weighing accuracy.
    • Frequent cleaning of the scales, particularly to prevent the spread of germs. In this respect, it is recommended to use scales with a stainless steel platform as they allow for better hygiene.
    • Replacing the batteries in digital scales.
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