Obesity is a chronic disease, and has become one of the gravest health concerns in the modern era. Use of person-to-person, telephone, and virtual approaches to communicate can promote continued adherence to lifestyle changes. With the help of every member of a multidisciplinary team and ongoing commitment from patients, small, practical steps and goals can lead to long-lasting, healthy weight loss. Maintaining weight loss during this period requires continued commitment from not only the patient, but also the specialists, and as with any other chronic disease, obesity requires further long-term treatment.
In Penang Weight Loss Clinic & Surgery, we have a Multidisciplinary Weight Management Team of professionals who help to ensure patients success and wellness throughout their weight loss journey. Multidisciplinary care aimed at small steps and practical approaches to lifestyle change can be an effective means of treatment for many patients who find it difficult to lose weight. Each member of the team — physicians, dietitians, pharmacists, physiotherapists, behavioral therapists, and nurses —brings a unique set of skills to bear on patient needs.
The physician is often seen as the lynchpin of a multidisciplinary team, and is usually the first member. Physicians, address the medical issues that might affect weight loss and help patients feel comfortable in a medical setting. During routine medical visits, the patient’s weight, nutrition, and physical activity are reviewed by the physician which indicates the level of importance these issues have. Given the high personal and economic costs of obesity and its comorbid conditions, weight-related instructions and advice should be discussed early in the visit in simple, nontechnical language.
Dietitians help patients gradually learn to eat less and incorporate healthier foods into their diets. They provide critical instruction to guide patients and ensure they adhere to the dietary changes consistent with the interventions either meal replacement, medication, intragastric balloon or bariatric surgery. Dietitians are essential for pre-operative and post-operative nutrition assessment as the clinical outcome will undoubtedly be better.
Medication for weight loss is one of the earliest interventions for obesity treatment and are given by oral route or injections. Medication is not just important in treating obesity, it also plays a crucial role in managing patients post bariatric surgery. Pharmacists review every patient to discuss the changes in his or her drug regime, from compliance to acceptance and all other drug related queries.
Physical/exercise therapy is an important component of a multidisciplinary team for pre-during-post bariatric surgery. Physiotherapists help formulate an exercise program after assessments which are tailored specific to the individual and teach practical ways to integrate physical activity into a patient’s day-to-day life.
Failure to maintain diet and exercise modifications may occur when a patient is not mentally prepared for long-term interventions. Many people participating in a weight loss program for the first time are nervous and afraid, which can promote resistance to change. A Behavioral therapist provides the mental preparation and structure that can help patients manage obstacles and identify and achieve their goals.
In the multidisciplinary team, the case manager is the key patient contact and the nexus for communication between team members. He or she is in a unique position to educate patients, make them feel comfortable and accepted, and gain access to the kind of information that will help direct optimal treatment strategies.
In any clinical care setting, the bariatric nurse is an important figure in the patient’s experience. As one of the initial contacts, bariatric nurses are in a unique position to enhance patient comfort and encourage ongoing involvement with weight loss efforts. The bariatric nurse will take care of all clinical aspects in the patient’s clinic follow up, day care procedures and ward management when they’re admitted.