A gait belt comes in really handy when you have to lift someone, transfer them to/from bed to wheelchair or simply assist them in movements. A patient needs to be at least partially capable of holding onto their own body weight. Whether you are a caregiver or just someone helping out your loved one, you must accustom yourself with the proper body mechanics required to do this task on a regular basis. This will help you to not overexert yourself and also avoid any injury. Here’s how you can use a transfer belt for patients with mobility assistance.
Using a gait belt either to lift a patient:
1. Before you put on a gait belt around the patient, help them to achieve a sitting position, preferably on the edge of the bed facing you.
2. Inform the care recipient that you will be placing a transfer belt around them.
3. Assure the patient that the belt will be taken off their waist once the task has finished.
4. Place the belt around the patient’s midsection with the buckle of the belt facing the front side. If the patient has a weak bladder, do not tighten the buckle directly over it, instead, place it slightly off-centre and make it more comfortable that way.
5. Also, ensure that the patient is wearing clothes before you put the gait belt on. If they have weak skin, it is best to place a towel in between the belt and their body.
6. Before you help them stand on their feet, ensure that the gait belt is tightly snug in place. Double-check everything if you need to.
7. Typically, you should be able to slide just two fingers between the belt and the patient’s body.
8. You must stand to face the care receiver with your knees bent and keeping your back straight.
9. When lifting a patient or transferring, place your arms around his or her waist and put your hand under the belt with your palm facing outwards.
10. It is best to use transfer gait belt with handles that are anti-slip and offer more safety measures.
11. Only use a gait belt with handles for support and assistance in this scenario.
Although traditional gait belts are easily found at a drug store, it is best to rely on the modern designs made by companies like Medtrica who are a pioneer in manufacturing medical products.