Assistive devices enable caregivers to provide support to patients who are not able to move properly. They also prevent caregivers from sustaining injuries to the back, joints, and limbs.
Caring for patients with mobility issues presents certain challenges that require smart solutions. The use of special devices is one such. A gait belt is a handy tool and one that is employed frequently in different patient care settings. It puts less strain on caregivers’ back and enables them to position patients easily.
What gait belts do?
As mentioned, a gait belt supports the caregiver’s back, more specifically the lumbar spine, which can witness a lot of strain when lifting or moving an object or person. This could involve transferring them from chair to chair, a bed to chair or chair to car. It also prevents patients with mobility issues from falling and injuring themselves and caregivers.
The belts are long and are made from canvas, nylon, or leather. They feature non-slip buckles that prevent belts from slipping when in use. These devices need to be very sturdy and must be able to support an adult with no problem. They are available for purchase at Medtrica.
Types of belts
More basic transfer belts for patients feature a strip of strong material and buckles. They are a cost-effective solution for budget constraints. More ‘advanced’ belts feature thick padding for added comfort, extra wide design, and hand grips for safety. These transfer gait belts with handles are a preferred choice among many caregivers, as they are secure and provide greater control.
How to use gait belts
While transfer belts for patients offer a safe way to position them, they still need to be used properly. The guidelines are as follows:
- Patients should always be transferred to their strongest side; otherwise, they may lose their balance and fall.
- Patients should be kept as close to the caregiver as possible when being moved. When shifting the patient to a new position, the caregiver should pivot their feet towards the same position and move the patient. Pivoting from the waist or the knees can cause strain and injury.
- Whether using a more basic belt or a transfer belt with handles, it should be fastened securely. The belt should be used outside a layer of clothing to prevent abrasions.
- If a patient falls, the caregiver should examine them for injury before attempting to move them. If the injury is minimal and the patient can stand, the caregiver should use the handles to assist. The back should be kept straight and the legs bent and used to lift the body. If the patient cannot stand without assistance, caregivers should call for a lift device and should not attempt to lift the patient themselves.
Assistive devices, such as gait belt, are essential to the caregiver and patient safety. Without them, injuries may be frequently sustained. Caregivers should follow the guidelines outlined here so that they can provide the best support to patients and keep themselves safe from harm.