In a previous post on the OAC Blog, we shared four major barriers that commonly exist for patients with obesity seeking healthcare:
- Not many available healthcare providers who understand obesity
- Lack of appropriate medical equipment
- Treatments that aren’t covered by insurance
- Difficult “required steps” to get coverage
As mentioned before, these are only a few of the barriers that often prevent patients with obesity from getting the help they need. In this post, we will explore four more barriers and share what you can do to make a difference in access to care.
More Examples of Barriers
Not Getting Whole Person Care
Imagine going to see your healthcare provider (HCP) because you have the flu or severe back pain. Once in the exam room, you tell your HCP what you are experiencing. He or she nods their head but quickly brings up your weight. It becomes the focus of your appointment, not the symptoms you came in with.
Patients need effective and respectful care no matter what health condition(s) they have. Unfortunately, weight is often blamed for conditions that are unrelated. Patients deserve treatment that considers the whole picture of their health and pays attention to factors other than the scale.
Not Getting Science-based Care
Far too often, patients struggling with their weight are told to eat less and move more. Diet and exercise are thought to be the only solutions. However, treatment options that are based in science and proven effective do exist: prescription medications, bariatric surgery, nutrition counseling and more.
Hearing about these options isn’t possible if HCP’s don’t know about them. Patients deserve to hear all of their treatment options in order to make an informed decision about their health that is right for them. After all, obesity is not the same for every patient. One size does not fit all.
Care that is Only Temporary
Obesity is a lifelong disease. Because of this, it demands lifelong care. Even if a patient has had success with weight-loss and is working on maintaining their weight, they are still affected by obesity. Care and resources are needed at every stage because weight regain is possible.
Not Knowing How to Accept Care
Weight is a sensitive topic. It can be hard for some people to accept help from a HCP.
Their struggles can be caused by:
- Negative past experiences with HCP’s
- A belief that they need to lose weight on their own
- Unsuccessful weight-loss attempts in the past
- Shame, guilt and feelings of embarassment
Patients should be able to feel comfortable when discussing their weight with a HCP. They should feel listened to, respected and supported. They deserve to know that help is available and they don’t have to feel shame in asking for it. Obesity is not meant to be managed alone.
Do You Support Access to Care without Barriers? Listen Up!
If yes, join the OAC in supporting National Obesity Care Week (NOCW)! The campaign will take place next week, September 15 – 21, and raise awareness about improving access to care for patients with obesity. To pledge your support for NOCW and learn about getting involved, CLICK HERE.