September 2018
Metric-Based Patient Weights
Pharmacist, Nurse, Other Licensed Professionals, Physician, Patient|Relative|Visitor|Caregiver

​Accurate Body Weight: Why is this Important?

Icon of a bullseye An accurate body weight is important in calculating the correct dose of medicine.

The dose can vary greatly if an accurate weight is not obtained. This could cause harm if the correct dose is not given.




Icon of a scale

When prescribing medication, the doctor or other care provider should obtain a current weight by weighing you on a scale. It is not appropriate to estimate your weight or use a weight that you’ve given, because these can vary greatly from your actual weight.




 Who is at Risk?

Anyone can be at risk, but you are more likely to be affected if you:

  • Have kidney problems
  • Receive chemotherapy
  • Are over 65 or below the age of 18

 When Should you be Weighed?

You should be weighed as soon as possible after you’re admitted to the hospital. You should also be weighed if there is a change in your condition that can affect your weight, during medical appointments, and emergency room visits, as appropriate.

How Should Patients be Weighed?


Patients should be weighed on a scale that measures in metric units (grams and kilograms). This is done because a number of medications are prescribed by figuring out the dose with use of metric units and not pounds.

Weights should not be in pounds. There can be errors when converting weights from pounds to metric units.