New Area New Program
By Carey Brown, MD
Many people make decisions to either move for different job opportunities or to try a new place to live. For some, this means moving away from an area where the past several generations of their family had resided. This is difficult for all involved because the immediate family is losing the close support that family can offer when it is needed. This also can affect a family member who is a bariatric patient. This means losing the close support that was provided by the bariatric program as well.
After finding a place to live in your new area and sending out your change of address, the next step for bariatric patients is to find a program that will accept you for postoperative follow up care. It does not matter if a patient is three months postoperative or three years.
All patients need at least yearly follow up appointments with a program. Why is this? First, the more involved a person is to their care, the better their weight loss and maintenance outcomes will be. Seek to find support group meetings to become a part of the bariatric community instead of feeling alone and isolated in the new area.
Second, all patients need surveillance of their nutritional parameters every year. This means yearly blood work to monitor protein stores, red blood counts and vitamin levels. No matter what operation was performed, all patients are required to supplement their diet with various vitamins; therefore, the levels need to be checked to ensure appropriate replacement is occurring.
Finally, sustainable weight loss is best achieved when follow up visits are maintained. We encourage you to be sure you find a new bariatric program in your new area or when you make visits home, time them so you can visit your original bariatric program.