Patients who are injured or old have difficulty in moving from one place to another. This is why they need assistance from a caregiver to perform tasks, such as moving, walking, etc. Gait belts are excellent medical equipment that allows caregivers to assist the patient in moving from one place to another. In this article, we will be learning about Gait belts for patients and their usability.
Gait Belt – The Meaning
A gait belt is a safety device, which can be used to help patients stand, walk, sit, or transfer from wheelchair to bed and vice versa. These are transfer belts with handles that are secured around the patient’s waist; this helps in reducing the chances of injuries and falls for both patients as well as caregivers. It also alleviates the physical stress that the caregiver is put through when pulling the patients, thereby reducing the chances of a back injury.
They are wide belts and designed using nylon, leather, canvas, cotton, etc., featuring a buckle at the end and loops. There are two kinds of gait belts – a standard belt sporting a metal buckle along with loops and teeth, and then there is a gait belt with release design that comes with plastic buckles.
When is Transfer Belt with Handles Used For?
A gait belt is not suitable in every situation when you have to move a patient. It is used in situations where patients have some control over their mobility and only partially dependent on their caregiver. Moreover, it is a tool that assists in movement, so the gait belt should not be used as a lift for the patients. For patients who are unable to move entirely, hospitals typically use mounted lift devices to facilitate the safe transfer.
While using transfer belts for patients, it is essential to be extremely careful, especially if the patients are recovering from a surgery that might affect their lower back region. When patients have catheters, feeding tubes, etc. near their abdominal area, then also the caregiver should be conscientious about how they handle the patients.
How to Properly Use Gait Belt?
There are various practices laid out in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Primarily it is essential to ensure that the belt is safely secure around the waist without being too tight. There should be two finger spaces between the patient and the belt, and it should be fastened securely. Furthermore, make sure that the patients have some clothing layers before securing the transfer belt in order to avoid skin chafing.
Patients might be nervous when being assisted by a transfer belt, so it is essential to verbally explain to the patients about what you are going to do so that they can also prepare themselves. It is a simple and effective tool that can make it easier to move patients from one place to another. Along with using the right kind of gait belt, it is equally important to know how to properly use it and educate your patients regarding the same, in order to mitigate the chances of injuries.