Summary: We often observe nurses helping the elderly and injured patients to walk and move with the help of gait belts or transfer belts. However, if you are considering buying a gait belt to help your loved ones, you need to know the right way of using them.
To help someone who is unable to move, the caregivers are often advised to use gait belts. In appearance, they seem perfect for assisting patients to and elderly to move. However, it is very crucial to know the right technique for utilizing gait belts. If you are considering using on for taking your loved ones for a walk, here’s what you need to know.
What is a Gait Belt?
Gait Belt is a transfer device used by caregivers, family members, and nurses to transfer elderly patients or the ones who are unable to move. Generally, gait belts can be used for the injured or the elderly for helping them move and walk.
These belts are from 1.5 to 4 inches broad and 54 to 60 inches long, so that, you can comfortably secure them around the patient’s waist. You can find belts made up of canvas, nylon, and even leather with buckles and handles for better grip. Never hesitate to consult the concerned doctor about which type of belt you should use.
Remember, to use the transfer belt for a patient’s mobility, the patient should be able to handle his/her weight to some extent.
Transfer belts are essential for easy mobility of the patients with weak bones as well as the well-being of the caregivers because belts handle a portion of weight for them, reducing strain on caregiver’s back.
What is the Right Way of Using a Gait Belt?
Using a transfer belts with handles for patients is trickier than it looks. You need to follow the right technique so that you do not end up hurting the patient or yourself. So, here are some tips for using a transfer belt.
1. Secure the belt around the patient and buckle it in the front. Make sure that the belt hugs the patient and is neither too tight or too lose. You can check it by examining if there is room for at least one finger.
2. For a better fit, never ignore the loops in the belt. Always thread the belt’s remaining length between the loops and lock it.
3. When you are transferring the patient from, say, bed to wheelchair, encourage him/her to push down on the bed and hold them by their waist. Holding the patients by their arms and shoulders can worsen their pain. Giving the patients a count-down before lifting them also helps here.
4. For better working, it is advised to use transfer belts with handles so that the patients do not feel the pain of being pulled.
5. Use your arm and leg muscles to move the patient instead of back muscles as caregivers because excess weight can strain them.
6. Remember to position yourself diagonally in-front of the patient and the wheelchair. In this way, you will not have to twist your body. Twisting the body when handling weight can be dangerous.
7. Once you’ve walked or transferred the patient, unbuckle and remove the belt.
Now that you know how you can use a gait belt effectively for avoiding injury to the patients as well as yourself, you can run them through the required physical workout like walking and moving.