Beam Scale Advantages
A beam scale is one of the most often used pieces of equipment in any doctor's office, hospital, long term care facility or in any gym. After all it is going to be used with virtually every patient that you see. These scales are outstanding for their accuracy as well as their consistent ability to provide weights that are correct even when used on an ongoing basis. They are considered to be much more accurate than typically retail designs of scales that simply do not hold up to continual use.
There are several different types of beam scale options. Some times these are known as balance scales or even balance beam scales. Different models offer different options to consider. Typically they will have two distinct beams, one on the bottom and one of the top of the column or post what are attached by a metal frame at both ends. One end will have a pointer or tip that extends through a slot in the frame. This is the balance part of the scale and, when the weights are in the correct slot on the beams the pointer will stay horizontal in the middle of the slot.
For those that want the accuracy of the old style mechanical scales but the convenience of a dual readout there are options available. It is possible to weight a patient in both kilograms and pounds using the same equipment, which is a great option for staff and patients alike. Since often doctors record weights in kilograms but, in the United States pounds are more commonly understood, staff can easily and quickly provide patients with their data without the need for conversion charts and tables.
There are some models that provide additional patient comfort and security. Since there is a slight step up onto the weighing platform a handle mounted to the frame of the platform is a great ideal. This is a big help for patients with mild to moderate mobility problems as it allows them to feel secure as they step up. Another real advantage to these types of scales is that models may have optional wheelchair ramps that can be attached and removed from the platform. This allows non-ambulatory patients to get their weight without the need for a specialized wheelchair scale. For general practices having this flexibility helps in budgeting on medical equipment as you don't need to have more than one type of system to weight all your patients.
While a beam scale is designed for specific capacities they are often more flexible than digital or floor types of models. This is because additional weights can be attached to the beams to allow larger weighing capacity. These weights are specific to the type of scale and must be part of the manufacturers offering for that particular model. Some models may have additional weight capacity of up to 100 pounds or more using the additional weights. This can save a practice from having to have a bariatric option as well as a standard scale.
It is important to keep in mind that you cannot use the additional weights off another beam model as they are all calibrated differently. To do this would cause measurements to be inaccurate and could pose significant data collection problems. However, most manufacturers can provide additional weights that are attached to the zero ends of the beams prior to the patient stepping up onto the platform.
Mechanical scales for smaller items in a lab, classroom, pharmacy or kitchen, are sometimes known as mechanical balances. These are typically a triple beam model that includes larger weights as well as the sliding weights seen on the full beam scale models. These devices can be very useful for working with patients as well. Although not the same as the scales discussed above they are still a great little scale that is very accurate and handy to have around.