Gait belts are devices that are used, usually by medical personnel in order to assist a patient to move from one place to another. These belts can also be used to hold others up when they are very weak and can not walk on their own. Gait belts help provide necessary support to both the helper and the patient by reducing the risk of falling for the patient and the risk of injury to the supporter
Types of gait belts
Gait belts come in the standard size of one and a half to four inches in width and fifty-four to sixty inches in length. The belt is usually constructed using canvas, leather or nylon with a safety buckle at one end. The best type of gait belt for any patient is usually prescribed by their doctor and shouldn’t be used otherwise.
Steps to using gait belts
Using gait belts is easy. However, you need to follow the proper steps and make sure that they are secured well. Here is a step by step guide for assistance.
1- First place the belt around the patient’s waist. The buckle is supposed to be at the front.
2- Secure the buckle by fastening the belt through it and pass it through the other two loops to make sure it is locked and secured well.
3- The belt should be thus secured that it is snug, not too tight nor too loose. Your fingers must be able to come under it though.
4- Put your fingers under the belt and grip it tightly. Bend your knees while keeping your back straight.
5- Use your entire body and not your back muscles to lift or move the person.
6- Make sure to not twist your body while lifting the person or you can suffer from back injuries.
7- When you are done with moving the patient remove the gait belt in the opposite manner of how you secured it.
There are several precautions you need to take while using the gait belt. Make sure that you keep your posture, especially your back straight. Awkard movements can cause you injury. Also, remember that gait belts are used to help patients and not lift patients. This means, your patient should be able to support himself/herself to some extent. You must also pay extra attention to securing the belt properly. If the belt is not secured properly, the patient as well as you may fall down and get hurt.