Summary: Moving and transferring patients with limited mobility can be a tough task. However, when you have the right set of skills in place for using a gait belt for moving transferring, and walking patients, it becomes easier. With the right amount of caution, transfer belts for patients are best healthcare equipment for their safety.
Moving becomes a dreaded challenge for patients or elderly who have mobility issues. Therefore, they require constant support of caregivers for even the most mundane of tasks.
While caregivers and nurses are happy to help and they do it with utmost care, there are times when a slip can lead to an injury to either of them. As a consequence, moving, walking, or transferring patients without the use of gait belts is advised against.
What are Gait Belts?
Gait Belts are strap-like devices which can be secured around patients’ waist to move them, walk them, or transfer them from one place to another. Use of this device ensures that the caregivers don’t have to handle all the body weight single-handedly and their spine is relived of all the undesired pressure. Also, the patients are better able to balance themselves, move themselves, and relearn how to handle themselves with the use of transfer belts.
Gait Belts and Their Contribution to Patient Safety
Often, it is advised that caregivers encourage patients to push themselves up from the bed for being able to support a portion of their weight themselves. Thus, Gait belt give the patients with limited mobility a chance to bring about some movement in their body on their own, building their confidence and motivating them.
In the nursing schools, nurses are taught how to use a gait belt with proper instructions which minimise the chances of falls, minimising injuries and saving patients from enhanced miseries.
However, if you are taking care of a patient at home, you can use the following guide to use the transfer belt for patients.
- Secure the belt comfortably around the patient’s waist. It should not be too tight or too lose. To check, try inserting two fingers in the gap and see if they fit comfortably. You can use transfer belts with handles and buckles to secure them in place.
- Once the belt is in place, encourage the patient to push themselves up from the bed to transfer them onto the wheelchair or to lift them up. Lean forward and hold the person on both sides with the help of the belt handles instead of arms and shoulders.
- Remember, using back muscles to lift can put a lot of pressure on your spine and cause spinal injuries. So, use your arm and leg muscles to help the patient up.
- Also, do not twist or move your body when lifting.
- When you are walking a patient with the help of transfer belts, make sure that you stand behind and on the side of the patient. Use your hands to make a firm grip on the belt on both sides. Walk the patient at a slow pace, do not drag them.
- Lastly, if the patient starts to fall or lose balance, make them sit on the ground softly, with their spine gliding down in front of your leg. Remove the gait belt whenever patient starts to feel uncomfortable.
There you go! The transfer belt for patients are no less than blessings for patients who have lost partial mobility and their caregivers. All you have to do is, use them with complete care and caution.