How To Use A Gait Belt

What is it?

A gait belt is a safety device used for moving a person from one place to another. The belt is also used to help hold up a weak person while they walk. Putting this belt around a person's waist allows helpers to grip it and keep the person from falling. It also decreases the chance of a helper hurting his back while helping a person move or walk.

Why is a gait belt needed?

A person may need to wear a gait belt because he is too weak to stand or walk alone. A person may need it when going from one place to another, like from the bed to a chair.

What kind of belts are used?

There are several kinds of gait belts. Usually a gait belt is about 1-1/2 to 4 inches (3.8 to 10 centimeters) wide and 54 to 60 inches (137 to 152 centimeters) long. The belt is made of canvas, nylon, or leather with a buckle at one end. Ask a caregiver to help you choose the best gait belt for you. You can buy a gait belt at medical supply stores.

How do I use a gait belt?

The following steps will guide a helper on how to use a gait belt:

  • Tell the person that the belt is used to prevent falls, and that it will be removed after the transfer.

  • Put the belt around the waist over clothing with the buckle in front. If the person wearing the belt is female, be sure the belt is not over her breasts.

  • Thread the belt through the teeth of the buckle. Put the belt through the other two openings to lock it.

  • Be sure the belt is snug with just enough room to get your fingers under it.

  • Ask a caregiver for more information about using good body mechanics. Good body mechanics may be able to prevent or correct problems with posture (the way you stand, sit, or lie.) Good body mechanics may also protect your body, especially your back, from pain and injury. When moving a person, do the following to prevent injuring your back:

    • Bend your knees and keep your back straight.

    • Keeping your knees bent and your back straight, lift using your arm and leg muscles. Do not use your back muscles.

    • Do not twist your body while moving or lifting a person.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your illness, injury, surgery, or procedure. You can then discuss your treatment options with your caregiver. You can work with caregivers to decide what care will be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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