A gait belt is a piece of medical equipment used to provide support to people who are weak and find it hard to move independently. It also helps in avoiding injuries that might happen during the movement. However, it needs to be used correctly so that both patient and caregiver remain protected.
When a person is too weak to get up or move by themselves, they take help from medical equipment called the gait belt. It is a 50-60 inches long belt tied to the patient’s waist that helps the caregiver provide support to the patient. It is also known as a transfer belt as it aids in transferring the patient from one place to the other. The patient does not need to get confused with which belt to choose, as their doctor recommends them which one will be the best option according to their health condition. However, most doctors recommend a transfer belt for patients as they provide extra support while moving the patient.
There are a few things that the patient and the caregiver should keep in mind while using the belt. By effectively using the belt, they can help avoid injuries and provide complete protection to patients and caregivers.
Here are the most important details regarding these belts-
Wearing The Belt Properly
The first step includes wearing the belt properly. As the caregiver holds the belt and then lifts the patient, a poorly tied up transfer belt can cause accidents that will hurt both patient and caregiver. To avoid this, the patient needs to tie the belt on their waist with the buckle in the front. They should tie it over the clothes instead of wearing it directly onto the skin. Also, they should get a firm grip on the belt, so that it does not slip through hands.
The sole purpose of the belt is to move the patient from one position or place to the other. For this, transfer belts with handles are highly supportive as they give something to hold on for the caregiver. Irrespective of the belt type, it is crucial to move the patient with proper support.
- Lifting: To lift the patient correctly, the caregiver should first make them sit with their legs on the ground. Once the patient is in a sitting positing, the caregiver should hold the belt from the lower back of the patient. It is necessary to use arm and leg muscles while lifting the patient because using back muscles can cause injury. Also, the caregiver should keep their body as stable as possible.
- Moving: The caregiver should position themselves a little behind the patient on either of their sides. It allows them to hold the belt properly. If they have chosen transfer belts with handles, the caregiver must hold them tightly while walking the patient. They can use one or two hands based on the patient’s ability to move.
Removing The Belt
Once the purpose is solved, the patient should remove the gait belt. Wearing it for long hours might irritate them as it is tied up tightly. The patient should be in a sitting or lying position so that the belt can be removed comfortably without the risk of them falling.
Gait belts are highly efficient if used correctly. But it is equally important to select the right belt according to the patient’s medical condition. Otherwise, the belt can end up hurting the patient.