Gait belts are simple straps which have turned out to be absolutely miraculous for the patients with limited mobility as well as their caregivers.
Earlier, the spinal health of the caregivers, who were regularly involved in transferring and walking the patients was at risk because all the pressure of the patients’ weight used to fall on their back and shoulders. This lead to increasing spinal injuries in caregivers, a major concern for all.
Medical Supply Gait Belt
However, after the introduction of gait belt use in the physiotherapy clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals, caregivers’ are breathing in relief. Now, the weight of the patients is shared by the caregivers as well as gait belts that help the patients remain stable on their own. Also, the caregivers can now gain the trust of the patients and encourage them to move on their own.
If you are a new caregiver wondering how to use gait belts, here are some solid tips that will teach you the best gait belt use.
Ensure the Right Fit
Gait belts are assistance devices which are designed especially for patients with limited mobility. Generally, they comprise a canvas, cotton, or nylon strap which can be clasped around the patient’s body through a buckle.
They can be pretty uncomfortable for the patients if they are too tight and might result in falls if left too loose. Either way, the patient can get injured, develop skin sores, and lose confidence in the caregiver. Therefore, when you clasp the belt around the patient, make sure that it can fit two fingers in the gap, indicating perfect fit.
While looking for a comfortable fit, there should be at least one layer of clothing between the patient’s body and the belt.
When to use a Gait Belt
Along with knowing how to use a gait belt, the caregivers should know that the use of transfer belts should be avoided if the patient is suffering or recovering from an abdominal injury or surgery. Also, if there are feeding tubes or such medical apparatus attached to the abdominal region.
Communicate and Motivate
For proper gait belt use, you need the corporation of the patients. Since the patient is only partially immobile, you can encourage them to push themselves down as you want to lift them and maintain balance while walking. In this way, you are not only helping them move but also building their confidence.
Also, the more patients will be able to handle their body, and the lesser strain will fall on you.
So, talk to the patients, let them know what you are up to, and give them a countdown to prepare themselves.
Use your Limbs not the Waist
When you are lifting the patients with the gait belts, make sure that you bend forward, fasten the belt, and use the limbs to lift the patient through handles. Plus, do not twist your back when trying to raise as that will transfer the weight on your waist.
There you go! The above tips for clasping the gait belt, communicating with the patient, encouraging them, and lifting them the right way will help caregivers to lift and transfer patients.