The increased risk with mobility for the aged or disabled.
As we age our mobility diminishes because of the body’s susceptibility to joint and muscle aliments. For most elderly, moving around on their own is with great risk. In order to prevent falls and broken bones, the assistance of a caregiver or family member is essential. Often injuries still result to the elderly even with assistance because of their fragility, balance or weight problems. Caregivers who assist the aged or other people with decreased mobility are also subject to injury when attempting to prevent the person from falling or stumbling. In other words, both the person being cared for and the caregiver are at risk.
Reducing risk with gait transfer belts.
The risk associated with assisting elderly people with their mobility can be significantly reduced with inexpensive devices designed to help. Gait Belts can help caregivers provide mobility assistance for the elderly so that they can move around or transfer from a hospital bed to a wheelchair, bath or toilet. Gait belts make it safer for both the elderly and the caregiver. These special devises provided hand holds for the caregiver to grab and use to steady the elderly patient. Gait belt use is not restricted to only the elderly; it is also used with people of all ages recovering from injuries or surgeries and for people who have special needs. The ease and simplicity in using a gait belt has made it a great choice for caretakers at medical institutions and also at homes to move elderly as well as injured people around. It is also used in rehabilitation as a support.
How are gait transfer belts constructed?
A gait transfer belt can be made from a variety of materials. The most commonly used ones today are made from cotton to be more comfortable to the wearer. The belt is fastened around the waist of the patient with a buckle. There are many different variations of Transfer Belts available on the market. A common variation of the gait belt is one made from nylon or other synthetic material that is easily cleanable. The recent fear that gait belts may help spread infections has compelled many hospitals and care centers to shift over to these synthetic types because synthetic materials can be easily disinfected and sanitized by simply cleaning with soapy water. You can also find a full size life vest which has belts and loops to further simplify the transfer of patients from wheelchair to bed and vice-versa. A traditional cotton variant will cost around $6 to $10, while the synthetic ones cost around $25. The life vest variant cost $150 or more.
How do gait belts work?
Holding the hand to provide support or using the walls and furniture to help move an elderly person around can be unsafe as the support required to hold their fragile legs up is minimal. The right way to do this is by using a gait belt. It helps the care taker in keeping the person upright and in also maneuvering them around. Sometimes more than one caretaker maybe required. For such cases a gait transfer belt with side handles can be used. With two persons providing support to the patient it becomes easier to handle the person receiving assistance. It also prevents the caretaker from developing back issues or other stress related injuries.
Learning to use a gait belt at home.
Before putting the gait transfer belt on a mobility patient, make sure that they know what you are doing and why. First, if they are lying down, have them sit up and slide forward to the edge of the bed or wheelchair. Have them lean forward so that you can wrap the belt around their waist. Move the loose end of the gait belt into the buckle and pull the other end to tighten the belt. Tighten it to just that extent that you can slip your fingers between the belt and the waist of your mobility patient. Slip your fingers into position from below the belt. Tighten your hold on the belt and stay in a crouched position with a straight posture. As you push the belt upwards ask him to slowly rise to his feet. If you are doing this step right then you will find that it does not take that much of an effort to help them stand up. Now, keep a constant upward force on the belt and ask them to walk slowly in your direction by firmly planting every step with a flat foot. Guide them to their destination by simply maneuvering yourself. Once you reach the edge of the surface that the patient will be resting upon, tell them to slowly sit down with a straight back. Make sure to keep applying a constant upward force throughout this process. Once they are safely settled onto the chair or other surface, remove the belt and tell them to slide back.
Precautions to take when using gait belts.
There are many different sizes of Gait Transfer Belts. Make sure that the size you get will fit around the waist of the patient without being too loose or too tight. When you tighten the belt make sure to tighten it just to that point where you can slip in your fingers comfortably. Keeping the gait bet too loose will allow the belt to slip, subjecting the patient and yourself to losing your balance and a possible fall. Always keep your back straight when supporting the patient. Do not twist or turn abruptly as you can very easily hurt your back. Lastly, remember a gait transfer belt is not made to help a person walk. It is meant to be used to provide support so that the person can be moved from one safe surface to another. Hence, always make sure that the destination is only a few steps away. You can achieve this with the help of a wheelchair or a walker.
It is always advisable to learn from a qualified caregiver the safe procedures to use at home while taking care of elderly or disabled people. Gait transfer belts are a helpful tool to protect patients and caregivers from injury.
Where can you find Transfer Belts?
Vitality Medical specializes in medical supplies and homecare products. With a broad selection numbering in the tens of thousands, you can find almost anything you might need, including gait belts. Visit them online today to check out their selection of Transfer Belts, Lift Assists, and Gait Belt Grips from Invacare, Posey and Scott Specialties. Vitality Medical delivers right to your door!