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Body weight assessment/ estimation


Does your emergency department does visual body weight estimation at admission?

  1. 1. Does your emergency department does visual body weight estimation at admission?

    • 1
      No, we always use the scales to assess body weight.
    • 8
      Yes, if the situation demands, we estimate patient weight.

9 members have participated

Dear Nurses,

I am an Occupational Therapist and Industrial Design Student.

Currently we are re-designing the body weight assessment or body weight estimation process.

For this I need your help. What are your experiences with this in the real world? Do you use the scales before drug administration? Do you just estimate weight? What do you do for unconscious patients? Do you have experiences with drug dosage errors because of wrongly estimated patient weight?

I´d be extremely happy if you comment or email me voscorea@mail.uc.edu


All the best,



Specializes in ER. Has 15 years experience.

This depends if they're intubated, or we're unable to grab a weight quickly. If it's kids, it's either the Braslow or using the infant scale. If we have quick access to a lift and weight is imperative (as in TPA for a stroke), then we have a mat we place under the patient.

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.

Like massed said, if we can't weigh a kid, we use the braslow tape. We weigh code strokes on the way back from ct. We have a stretcher scale & all of the er stretchers have their weight written on them. We get ambulance arrival weights that way or by a stand-up scale if appropriate. If they come through the front door, there's a digital floor scale at triage. Plus all of our wheelchairs have their weight written on the back so we can weigh pt & chair, then subtract chair weight.

Pts who are too unstable to be actually weighed get an estimated weight through agreement on their weight by 2 rns.

Thank you. This already helps a lot. So estimation is only used if there is no other option, right? And before giving TPA you ALWAYS have to assess weight using a scale?

In what situations exactly would you decide to complete a visual weight estimation?

We weigh kids on the way in.

We ask conscious pts their weight.

We guess the weight of unresponsive pts.

zmansc, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency.

Scale if possible. Kids where it's not possible Braslow tape. If scale not practical, ask for weight estimate from pt/family and based on judgement accept or not. Typically, adult weights are less critical than peds. If pt is unresponsive, family not there, etc., then yea, we will guestimate and document as such. Once you've had a few thousand patients you know the weight fairly quickly! lol When the 300+ lbs lady tells you last time she weighed herself she was 220lbs, you know that was five years ago and irrelevant to the current situation!

nuangel1, BSN, RN

Specializes in CT ,ICU,CCU,Tele,ED,Hospice. Has 30 years experience.

what hhern says