A gait belt is the safety device utilized to help someone in moving. So, one of the gait belt uses is to help hold a person while they walk, if they are too weak to walk on their own. This belt helps not only support but also prevent a fall. The belt decreases the risk for a spinal injury while the person is assisted in walking or moving.
The gait belt is the assistance safety device, used to aid a patient in walking around, standing, sitting, or transferring them to a wheelchair from the bed. The nurse will secure this belt around the waist of the patient and then grab it to steady the patient when they move around together.
Such a belt is generally about 3.8 to 10 cm (1.5-4 inches) wide and 137-152 cm (54-60 inches) long. This belt is made of nylon, leather, or canvas with a buckle. You can find many such belts; however, you should let the healthcare provider decided which belt would suit you the most.
This belt is most suitable for those patients who have some mobility as well as are only partially relied on the caregiver for support.
However, if the patient does not have functional mobility, one should use it carefully, especially if the person has recently got surgery in the lower back and abdominal region.
Because this belt supports the mobility of a person, it needs to be used properly. People generally do not know how to use a gait belt. However, with the tips mentioned below, one can use the belt properly.
How to Use a Gait Belt?
There are several ways of using the belt. However, the most important thing common in every method is making sure the belt is not overly tight but snug. You can ensure that by being able to fit two fingers between the patient and the strap. To avoid skin chafing, you should check that the belt is not directly put onto the patient’s skin without any layer of clothing. Another thing to ensure is that there is no obstacle in the patient’s path of movement, such as items on the floor or bedrails.
To help a person stand up or transfer them from a position to another, you should first help them sit and then put on the belt. Then stand in front of the patient with your knees bent and back straight. You should have a broad stance as well as a stable support base, and be sure to lift as well as support from your knees instead of your back to prevent strain. Now, using both of your hands, grasp the loop on the belt’s back firmly. Currently, support the patient as they are walking, keeping your pace similar to theirs.
You should avoid putting the belt on lines, tubes, incisions, and stitches and never utilize the belt on a pregnant woman. It would help if you now placed the strap around the breasts, abdomen, and upper chest but only at the patient’s waist while they are moving or walking with the assistance of the caregiver. With the proper use of this belt, you can avoid handling the patient by wrist, underarms, or arms, which may cause injury to the patient.
While you put on the belt, always let the patient know what you are doing. These belts are generally very long and can fit most of the shapes and sizes of people. The belt should be fastened just like a military belt is – making sure that every tooth catches as well as buckle closes.
One of the gait belt uses is having a sitting person stand up and walk. But you should make sure that the belt is neither too loose or too tight. Also, avoid holding the belt with your whole hand, as it can be uncomfortable for the patient. The belt is used for steadying a weak person and not drag, push, or pull them.
There are several necessary gait belt uses like aiding a weak person in moving, sitting, walking, etc. If proper support is not provided to these patients, they may end up getting injured. While talking about how to use a gait belt, a lot of emphases is paid on fastening the belt snugly.