By: Sue Bunnell, RN and Clinical Manager of the Princeton Comprehensive Bariatric Center
I came to Princeton Baptist Medical Center in March of 2010. But it was a homecoming for me. I had been part of the Baptist family since 1998-2005. I was asked to help transform our Surgeon’s vision into 4 walls, and this is our story.
The first thing to understand about us is that we have a mission. We have a purpose for how we provide care to this specialized patient population.
TO ACCOMPLISH OUR MISSION, Princeton Baptist Health System’s Bariatric Team will:
- Strive to ensure that each patient is fully informed, fully prepared and their expectations have been met
- Provide a safe and comfortable environment for each and every patient that is cared for within our facility
- Be committed to treating all patients with the utmost respect and dignity
- Offer preoperative and postoperative nutritional and exercise counseling
- Facilitate support group meetings twice per month
- Provide a complete and comprehensive educational experience to patients wishing to learn about the surgical treatment of morbid obesity and out program
- Provide a comprehensive surgical experience for patients who choose to proceed with Roux-en-Y, adjustable gastric banding or sleeve Gastrectomy
- Develop an after-care program to assist the weight loss surgery patient throughout their journey
Now, let me tell you about the structure, or what you will see. We are a 6200 square foot area, custom designed for the person of size. When you first enter our Center, you will notice, things are different here. I will echo that, with a hearty, “Yes, they certainly are”.
As you begin your look around, you will notice the size appropriate chairs. These are a custom designed product. The changes from the intended creation were recommendations by our patients to enhance comfort.
You will also notice randomly spaced seating throughout our facility. This is from the valet parking area to our auditorium. We want you to be comfortable in knowing that we understand that you may struggle walking long distances at a time. The hallways are adequate for a power chair and a care partner to enter together. We are here for you, and ready to accommodate your needs!
Speaking of hallways, we have one with a special title. It is the “Because I can” wall. We ask patients to bring in photos of various things that represent non-scale victories. Quality of life is so much more than a number on a scale or “high school skinny”. It is all about moving off of the side lines and into the game.
The next area of interest is our gym. It provides an intimate area with 6 machines (all weight rated at minimum of 450 pounds), medicine balls, hand weights and kettle bells. One of our machines can be configured to accommodate a wheel chair. Our gym area is very private. All of our pre-operative patients will receive an orientation class to the exercise equipment. The goal is to help our patients’ feel comfortable enough in the gym environment to transition into a public gym. We want to help cultivate a lifelong love of exercise.
Toward the back of the facility, we have a wonderful area designed just for socializing. There are several intimate seating areas for friends to gather. Public computers are part of this area even though we have free Wi-Fi. The educational experience is so important to our patients whether they are seeking to learn more about surgical options or connect with other patients. We want to support them through all steps of their journey.
The largest area in our facility is the 1700 square foot auditorium. This room ROCKS! Literally, as we have surround- sound, LCD projector, big screen, etc. We are even equipment with an air-conditioning unit specific to this meeting room. We are fully equipment to educate. We can seat a little over 100 people for meetings. We conduct seminar for the patient seeking information about surgery, support group, educational classes as well as Zumba, Yoga and Walking class all within these four walls. A big favorite is the portable cook top that is located in the front of the room. We have a kitchen on wheels! We provide a cooking demonstration with lunch the third Friday of each month. It has been very well received by our surgery patients as well as other visitors to the Center. Mr. John Naro, Executive Chef, for Princeton hospital is the guest speaker for this event.
We have a bimonthly support group led by our very own Certified Life Coach, Stefanie Dutton. She works very hard to keep the topics fresh and original. She has various guest speakers come to share information. She provides printed educational material for future reference.
We have just introduced a Recovery Program. This program has been specifically written for those who have had weight loss surgery and have experience inadequate weight loss, or weight regain. We provide compassionate care, in a nonjudgemental surrounding. We help you work through the issues, set goals, and start making changes to find success. This is also multidisciplinary with monthly classes, use of the gym and a $40.00/month fee.
OK – I have been speaking in great length about those interested in the surgical weight loss options. We here at the Comprehensive Bariatric Center understand that surgical intervention is not the choice for everyone. We also support a medical weight management program. It is a multidisciplinary approach with monthly meetings, usage of the gym, and support group. There is a $40.00/month fee attached to this program.
This same program can be utilized to accommodate the 7 month physician monitored weight loss requirement that is required by some insurance. We coordinate your care with your primary care physician and the surgeons’ office.
Moving to a more personal note, I am a weight loss surgery patient. I had RNY 9 years ago. My highest weight was 293 pounds. I was on 13 prescription medications for various health conditions. Currently I am sporting a 145 pound weight loss, and all of my health conditions are in remission. So, when I tell you that I know the feelings of anxiety, fear, frustration, hopelessness and pain associated with obesity, please be assured that I really know.
For a detailed list of classes, seminars, dates and times, please visit:www.princetonbariatrics.com.
We offer tours daily and We Are Here for You through your weight loss journey!!
Princeton Comprehensive Center