Humboldt General Hospital has announced a new support group designed to help both pre-op and post-op bariatric patients.
"The decision to undergo weight loss surgery is not one to be taken lightly," said HGH Licensed Social Worker Laura Nelson, who will facilitate the new group.
"While bariatric surgery is a tool for many patients to jumpstart their transformation towards a more active and healthy lifestyle, long-term support is critical to their success."
The Bariatric Support Group will take place from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month in the HGH ambulance training room. Nelson said those considering surgery as well as those who have undergone the procedure should attend.
While Humboldt General Hospital does not offer weight loss surgery, Nelson said the support group is offered as a community service. "This is really about our commitment to the care of our community," she said.
"Weight loss surgery is not for everyone," she continued, "and it is certainly not the 'easy way out' from obesity; however it is an option and we want to provide that support both before and after the surgery."
Nelson will bring her compassionate skill set to the group including patient advocacy, active listening and the bounty of resources at her disposal.
She also will bring a more personal element to her facilitation, having recently undergone the surgery herself.
"The surgery is life changing," said Nelson, "one of the best things I have ever done for myself."
She added, "It is hard work, but well worth it!"
Nelson said group members and their supporters will receive up-to-date weight loss information, consider issues in the context of the disease of obesity, and have the opportunity to discuss personal or professional issues that arise from the consequences of bariatric surgery.
"Following weight loss surgery, patients are faced not only with new eating and drinking behaviors, but also with difficulty in making sense of the role food plays in their lives," she said.
"Our support group will focus on learning a new relationship with food. Group topics will include dealing with nutritional and physical health as well as emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual well-being."
Guest presenters may be invited to present some topics. All sessions will include time for questions and social interaction. Significant others are encouraged to attend.
The group is sanctioned by the Western Bariatric Institute, which will provide oversight as well as topical guidance to Nelson. There is no charge to attend.
Nelson said bariatric support group sessions have been shown to directly increase the chances of short- and long-term patient success following bariatric surgery.
"So regardless of where people are in relation to the bariatric surgery process, they are welcome to attend the sessions," said Nelson.
For more information on the new Bariatric Support Group at Humboldt General Hospital, please contact Laura Nelson, LSW, at (775) 623-5222, ext. 115.
The group's first meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, in the HGH ambulance training room. Thereafter, the group will continue to meet the fourth Wednesday of each month.