Visual estimation of patients’ body weight in hospital: the more observers, the better?
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- Goutelle, S., Bourguignon, L., Bertrand-Passeron, N. et al. Pharm World Sci (2009) 31: 422. doi:10.1007/s11096-009-9295-y
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Objective Patients are not always weighed in hospitals. A visual estimate of patients’ body weight is often used. Little information exists about the validity of this practice. We assessed the visual estimation of body weight in a population of elderly hospitalised patients. Method Three observers performed a visual estimation of weight in 71 geriatric patients. Estimated body weights from each observer were compared to measured body weights. Various panels—three panels of two observers and two panels of three observers—were also evaluated. Results Overall results showed that a three observer panel gave better weight estimates than one or two individuals. Conclusion While further clinical studies are necessary to confirm these findings, using the mean or the median of several visual estimates may be a practical solution for body weight estimation when weighing patients is not possible.