Patient weighing scales are vital pieces of equipment in care home settings. Being able to regularly record residents’ weights provides vital information for detecting fluid retention, calculating proper medication dosages, screening for malnutrition and assessing general wellbeing.
As a result of regular use, weighing scales can lose their accuracy over time. In cases such as calculating dosages for medication, accurate weight readings are critical, as a person’s life may be at risk. Changes to the scale’s environment can also affect the scale’s calibration.
Why Do My Patient Weighing Scales Need To Be Calibrated?
Healthcare providers should use Class 111 approved medical grade patient weighing scales because these are required for their accuracy and durability, taking into account that weighing residents is an essential part of their care planning.
But medical grade scales are still precision measuring instruments and, like many other medical instruments, they require calibration. Meticulously manufactured mechanical and electronic components are used to ensure consistent and accurate weighing results which are subject to wear caused by both normal usage and abuse.
While this wear may be small at first, over time it can lead to significant changes in a scale’s accuracy if not checked regularly. Calibration is simply the process of checking to see if any change has occurred and correcting it before the scale’s results are impacted.
The only way to guard against inaccuracies in patient scales is through regular inspection and calibration. Properly maintaining patient scales ensures accurate and consistent patient weight readings, which are critical to consistent, effective patient outcomes.
Conversely, mis-calibrated, or inaccurate scales can cause inconsistencies that can lead to improper treatment e.g., where medications are dosed by weight. An inaccurate weight can lead to a patient getting too little — or too much — medication, resulting in a non-therapeutic or potentially harmful dose.
What Is The Difference Between Scales Inspection And Scales Calibration?
A Weighing Scales Standard Inspection Service includes a full and thorough visual inspection of all working parts and a standard weight check on all chair, hoist and platform scales. We do not recalibrate scales as part of our standard inspection. We accurately test them to see if they do need recalibrating using accurate weights which are put on the scales and if the reading is out of the tolerance then we advise the customer to not use the scales and that they will need to be recalibrated and re-verified separately.
(Patient weighing scales need to be regularly inspected as per manufacturers recommendations, however we recommend they are serviced, and weight checked every 6 months.)
Professional Scale Calibration Service is a certified procedure, (to ISO9002) which ensures weighing scales are weighing correctly and consistently to the advertised accuracy service. Each scale is tested using M1 certified test weights by engineers who are qualified to the UK Weighing Federation Calibration Code of Practice.
How Often Should My Weighing Scales Be Calibrated?
How often you calibrate your scales depends on a few different factors — manufacturer’s recommendations, how often you use the scales and the environment they’re in.
If your scales are used multiple times throughout the day, every day of the week, normal wear and tear will occur faster than in scales that are used a few times per week. Therefore, if you use these scales more frequently, they should be calibrated more frequently
Always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations first. Manufacturers should have a recommendation for the frequency of calibration, and since all scales are made differently, it’s usually safe to assume the manufacturer knows best.
As a guide, the NHS recommends that weighing scales are calibrated a minimum of once or twice a year, to ensure they are fit for purpose.
At Hcsuk, we offer yearly and twice year calibration checks to suit your needs.
How Can I Arrange A Calibration Check?
You can arrange for your weighing scales calibration check by getting in touch with us here at Hcsuk. We offer an off-site professionally certified calibration service where each scale will be tested using M1 certified test weights by engineers who are qualified to the UK Weighing Federation Calibration Code of Practice,
Our door-to-door service includes collection from your premises, fully certificated testing and amending of your weighing equipment, to ISO9002.70 standard, and re-delivery with an average turnaround time of 7 working days.
To enquire about having your patient weighing scales calibrated or get a quotation please contact us.