What is a Gait Belt Used For?
- A gait belt is a device worn by a patient so that they can be assisted by a caregiver to stand up, sit, and support when doing supervised walks.
They are used for both the patient and caregiver to safely support and control the transfer of the patient from these positions.
In this Article:
What's the Difference Between a Transfer Belt and a Gait Belt?
A gait belt and a transfer belt are interchangeable terms; they refer to the same device.
They come in different sizes and features. We'll discuss that later on.
What is a Gait Belt Used For?
A gait belt allows a caregiver a secure place to grab onto to transfer a patient to different positions safely. This way, you don't have to hold on to a part of their body or clothes, which increases the chances of falling and overexertion injuries.
For example, it's useful when transferring someone from a bed to a wheelchair or toilet or when doing supervised walks.
It also allows a caregiver to help stabilize a care recipient who loses his or her balance while walking.
In essence, the use of a gait transfer belt is beneficial to both the patient and the caregiver.
Types of Gait And Transfer Belts
Gait belts are part of a family of transfer devices named transfer garments that include transfer vests and transfer slings.
Gait belts, or transfer belts, come in many sizes and features.
The most simple style is a plain belt made with durable materials and a quick release or metal buckle.
Then there are the most enhanced ones with more cushion and padded handles for easy and more controlled grabbing, like this one from TKWC.
Gait Belt with Handles
Some gait belts come with handles incorporated into the design.
These handles offer additional support and control during transfers and walking exercises. Gait belts with handles have padded grips attached to the belt, allowing caregivers to have a firm and comfortable hold.
The handles make it easier for multiple caregivers to assist in supporting and moving the patient, especially in situations where extra strength or control is needed.
This transfer belt feature 6 padded handles, reinforced stitching a metal belt buckle with teeth.
Why is the Gait Belt Long?
Gait belts are typically designed to be long to accommodate various sizes and shapes of individuals. It's recommended to tuck in the dangling end to prevent trips or tangling.
Some gait belts even feature multiple fabric handles, allowing more than one person to grab a handle to assist with patient movement.
Why Should I Use a Gait Belt?
Gait belts are primarily used to prevent falls. They are commonly employed in healthcare settings and can also be beneficial at home when providing support to elderly or weakened individuals.
How Do You Use a Transfer Belt?
Depending on the ambulation you are trying to achieve, you will use the transfer belt differently. Here are a few basic steps to use a transfer belt:
- • Make sure the patient is wearing non-slip footwear for added stability.
- • Position the transfer belt around the patient's waist, making sure it is snug but not too tight.
- • Secure the belt using the buckle or closure mechanism.
- • Stand in front of the patient, maintaining good body mechanics.
- • Grasp the handles or the belt itself with a firm grip.
- • Provide verbal cues to the patient, indicating the intended movement.
- • Assist the patient in standing up or walking while supporting their weight with the belt.
- • Keep a close eye on the patient's balance and adjust your support as needed.
- • When the transfer or ambulation is complete, guide the patient to a safe sitting or lying position.
- • Remove the transfer belt carefully, ensuring the patient's comfort.
Is a Gait Belt Useful with a Walker or Cane?
While a gait belt is primarily used for assisted transfers and walking exercises, it can also be used in conjunction with walkers or canes.
When using a walker or cane, the gait belt can provide additional support and stability. It can be worn around the waist, allowing the caregiver to have a secure hold while the patient uses the walking aid.
How Do I Prevent a Fall with the Gait Belt?
To prevent falls while using a gait belt, it's essential to follow these guidelines:
When Should You Not Use a Gait Belt?
Do not use a gait transfer belt if the patient:
• Has a colostomy
• has had recent abdominal or back surgery.
• Is pregnant.
• Has fractured ribs.
• Has severe cardiac or respiratory disease.
• Has a feeding tube going to the stomach.
• Has a PEG tube
• If he/she feels weak or faint..
Asking for help should never make anyone feel embarrassed. When someone is injured, why risk any falls or further injuries? It's always a call to be extra safe, and a transfer belt can help with that.
Gait belts are valuable tools in providing safe and effective assistance during transfers and ambulation. They offer support and stability for both the patient and caregiver, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
When using a gait belt, always ensure proper fit, secure fastening, and follow best practices for safe transfers. Remember, communication, body mechanics, and vigilance are key to successful and injury-free use of the gait belt.
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