Physicians who deal with patients suffering from old age or an injury which gives them limited mobility often advise the caregivers at clinics, hospitals, and even at homes to use gait belts. However, which gait belt to buy and how to use them is also confusing. So, here we are going to tell you everything you need to know before buying one.
What are Gait Belts?
Gait belts or transfer belts for patients are medical-grade straps which can be fastened around the patient’s waist to enable the caregiver to lift them, transfer them, and help them in walking short distances.
The width of the belts may vary from 1 ¾ inch to 4 inches, and the length can be between 56-60 inches. Generally, transfer belts for patients are made up of canvas, nylon, or leather material and have loops and buckle for a secure fit. Speaking of the material, buy the one which is anti-slip for safety. Both, plastic snap-buckle design and metal buckle design are equally safe for keeping the belt together.
What purpose do gait belts serve?
Gait belts are, by far, the best medical-grade devices which come in quite handy when you have to assist someone to move or take them for a walk. Remember, using a gait belt is only recommended for patients who can handle some of their weight themselves. Never rely on them for the patients who lack complete mobility. Plus, they are not only designed for the comfort of the patient but also to keep the strain off the caregiver’s back.
Yes, by using patient transfer belt with handles, the caregiver makes sure that they don’t have to handle entire body weight of the patient as the belt permits them to use their arm and leg muscles for supporting the patients instead of their back muscles.
How to use a Gait Belt Effectively?
It is crucial to be very careful and abide by some instructions to use a transfer belt effectively for the well-being of the patient and the caregiver.
1. Whenever you fasten the gait belt, check if there is room for two fingers still left to ensure a comfortable snug fit.
2. Run the strap through the buckle and the loops for a secure fit so that the transfer belts with handles don’t come off when you are helping the patient walk.
3. Remove any furniture or objects which might obstruct the way.
4. Let the patient know how and what are you planning to do. Also, encourage the patient to push and support the body as much as possible.
5. Perform the lifting action with the aid of your limb muscles to keep the strain off your back. Keep your knees bent and back straight. And, have a wide stance for better control. Now, firmly grasp the handles of the belts on both sides and pull the patient upwards, unfolding the knees.
We hope that the information above helps you figure out the solution for all the questions that pop in your head when you are planning to buy a gait belt.