Bariatric Pressure Injury: Skin and Wound care in the Home Care Setting

By Vicki Haugen RN, BAN, MPH, CWOCN, OCN 

Obesity is an increasingly serious health care issue and health risk in America with more than one third of Americans considered obese (NIH/CDC). An even greater health care concern is the increasing rate of morbid obesity (the bariatric patient) as well as the increasing rate of super obesity. According to the CDC a BMI (body mass index) of >40 is morbid obesity and a BMI >50 is now considered super obesity. The rate of persons with a BMI greater than 40 or 50 is growing in prevalence.1

Skin injury to bariatric patients can involve a combination of factors such as pressure injury, moisture or incontinence associated injury, and alteration in skin perfusion. Unique needs in the bariatric population involve problems such as pressure injury from catheters buried deep in skin folds or sides of wheel chairs or other furniture that are too small. Due to their body shape, any point of contact such as the fleshy gluteal part of the buttocks is often at risk for pressure injury, rather than a bony prominence.

Advisory Board


Jan Foster, RN, PhD, MSN, CCRN

Associate Professor of Nursing

Texas Woman’s University, Houston, TX


Mikel Gray, PhD, CUNP, CCCN, FAAN

Professor and Nurse PractitionerUniversity of Virginia

Department of Urology and School of Nursing,

Charlottesville, VA


Tim Op’t Holt, EdD, RRT, AEC, FAARC

Professor, Dept. of Respiratory Care and Cardiopulmonary Sciences

University of South Alabama,

Mobile, AL


Paul K. Merrel, RN, MSN, APN-2

Advance Practice Nurse, Adult Critical Care

University of Virginia Health System,

Charlottesville, NC


Jennifer A. Wooley, MS, RD, CNSD

Clinical Nutrition Manager

University of Michigan

Health System

Ann Arbor, MI

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