Elderly people who are experiencing some kind of physical disability or bariatric patients need assistance when it comes to moving from one place to another. In that case, a gait belt or bariatric gait belt for heavy people, is used by professionals for safe handling at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and even in homes.
The gait belt is an effective tool because it aids people with old age, brittle joints, or injuries to be safeguarded during ambulation. These simple straps make it easy for both the caregiver and the patient to move around together. The gait belt is an effective piece of equipment needed when walking and standing.
Apart from reducing the risk of a patient experiencing a fall, a gait belt help protects caregivers from hurting their backs as well. Continue reading the post to know more about gait belts.
What exactly is a gait belt?
Gait belts are specialized kinds of safety equipment that help a patient walk and stand around. Additionally, they are helpful when it comes to transferring patients with mobility issues from wheelchairs to beds and vice versa. Nurses tend to secure the belt around the patient’s waist and grab the belt to make the patient steady while they move around.
When used the right way, gait belts reduce the chances of patients having a fall accidentally. On top of that, the belt relieves the stress that caregiver experiences when dealing with patients suffering from mobility issues. In short, nurses don’t have to worry about injuring their backs when using gait belts.
Typically, gait belts come a few inches wide and are made with leather, nylon, or canvas. Also, they have a buckle at the belt’s end and have loops for holding. In general, you can find two types of gait belts. One comes in a standard design that features a metal buckle with teeth and loops. Another comes with a quick release design that features a plastic buckle snapping in the right place.
Besides, the bariatric gait belt with handles has an intuitive design that supports patients securely, especially during transfer or ambulation. It’s a different kind of belt that comes with long handles made for specific situations.
These kinds of belts are handy when nurses have to deal with bariatric patients. The extra-long handle in a gait belt helps residents who are quite big and nurses secure them with ease when transferring them from place to place.
In addition, these belts come with wipeable and smooth elastic straps that feature welded edges. The best part about the bariatric gait belt is that there are no seams. As a result, these belts that come with handles make sure that there is a low chance of bacterial growth on the belt.
How good are gait belts with handles?
Using a gait belt with a few handles for a bariatric patient comes with a lot of advantages. These belts are easy to use and they are available in custom-fit designs. Moreover, they are extremely comfortable to wear. The belts assist in walking while providing fall prevention.
However, knowing how to use gait belts and investing in the best product are equally important. There are many things to consider when you are planning to buy gait belts with handles. To get started, choose the one that offers accessibility.
Furthermore, you would want to have a belt that provides profound supportive control. Most nurses feel that a patient should ambulate with gait belt. Gait belts equipped with handles offer the right positioning and proper ambulation. Therefore, research the different types of padded bariatric gait belts and find the one that suits your budget and needs.
How to use a gait belt properly?
The OSHA or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends many best practices needed for using a gait belt. If you are looking for a gait belt how to use, this section might be handy. The first thing that you should take care of is to ensure that the belt isn’t overly tight.
It means that the belt should be snug fit. So, how to find out whether or not the belt comfortably fits on the patient’s waist? The process is simple: insert two fingers and find out whether or not they fit comfortably between your patient and the belt.
Also, you have to make sure that the belt is fastened securely so that the patient won’t undo the same when being moved from one point to another. Ensure that your patient wears at least one layer of clothing between the belt and their skin. Or else, there could be issues of chafing on the patient’s skin.
Additionally, remove all kinds of obstacles that might cause hindrances in the way of having a smooth movement. For example, get rid of any kinds of items on the floor or bed rails. Regardless of why you are using the gait belt, intimate the patient that you are going to use the belt on them while helping them throughout the transfer process.
Even when you are using the belt to lift a patient, it helps a lot when you and your patient are in sync. That’s because it makes the whole process easy while both of you act at the same time during the lift. When it comes to making someone stand up while transferring them from one point to another or simply wearing the belt, there is an important factor to consider.
Assist the patient to a good sitting position when putting on the gait belt. Next, stand up and face the patient with your knees bent and back straight. Keep in mind to have a stable support base and a wide stance. Additionally, have enough support to lift your knees instead of placing excessive strain on your back.
If you do the opposite, you may hurt your back. Use both your hands to have a firm grasp on the belt from both sides. After that, straighten both your knees while you put effort to lift the patient. Then, comes the part when you need to assist someone walking.
To help a patient walk while wearing a bariatric gait belt, start by standing behind them and to their side. With your palm towards you and using the underhand grip, grasp the loop firmly on the back of the gait belt. Keep pace with the patient while supporting them as they walk.
When you should use a gait belt?
Keep in mind that a gait belt might not be suitable for every patient. However, it is always a good choice when a patient suffers from some kind of mobility issues and doesn’t depend on the nurse entirely for support.
Remember that gait belts are mobility-assistive devices and they shouldn’t be used to move or lift outright. If the patient cannot move for themselves, a mounted lift or a power-driven portable device should be used to transfer them safely. But be cautious of using the belt on patients who have relatively good mobility.
Sometimes, they might be recovering from a surgery or condition affecting their lower back or abdominal region. Consider using the belt if the patient uses catheters, feeding tubes, or other kinds of apparatus located near the abdominal area. In that case, the patient’s doctor might recommend whether using the gait belt would be a good option.
The best bariatric gait belts that you can consider buying
Now that you have an idea about bariatric gait belts and how to use them the right way, let’s check the three best ones out there on the market.
C0w & Cow 60-inch gait belt with metal buckle
Cow & Cow produces some of the best gait belts that are made of 100% cotton. In addition, the belts come with better safety loops, unlike ordinary belts that come at cheaper prices. These are heavy-duty belts that help you do almost everything that they are designed for.
For less than $10, you can have this wonderful belt. This gait belt comes in eight sizes and five color options to choose from. Because the belt is made of 100% cotton, you can wash it with ease. Also, the belt can hold around 350 pounds. Another feature of the belt is its 2 inches width.
While you are on a mission to help someone, getting them a cheap piece around their waist isn’t good and practical either. You would want to have a wide gait belt like this one without hesitation. Besides, the belt comes with a 1-year warranty.
The Cow & Cow gait belt is equipped with a metal buckle that secures the patient safely when they are being transferred. Even when you use the belt for causal movement, the buckle gives promising results. The gait belt can be adjusted to up to 60 inches as well. It’s a great product that you can’t afford to miss.
Vive gait belt with handles and quick release metal buckle
The Vive gait belt is durable enough because it is made from high-quality nylon. This gait belt along with its handles can effectively and safely assist patients or your loved ones with ease. These handles allow for assisting patients while reducing the chances of the caregiver’s injury.
This belt comes with two horizontal and four vertical handles that allow caregivers to provide their patients with the right kind of assistance from every side and every angle. You don’t have to worry about the belt’s performance because the handles have comfortable pads that give a secure grip.
These handles, it makes easy for you to hang onto the patient with ease, unlike the experience that one gets from an ordinary gait belt. For many caregivers, a traditional gait belt tends to force one’s fingers and wrist into an unwanted situation. So, you don’t have to worry about that with the Vive belt.
The best part is that the belt can be washed whenever they get dirty and comes with a 60-day warranty. As such, you can buy the belt with confidence without worries. However, the belt can accommodate waists for up to 51 inches, which means it isn’t for everybody. Hence, anyone with a much larger waist won’t be able to use the belt
Skil-Care gait belt
Specifically designed for use when transferring, ambulating, or lifting patients, the Skil-Care gait belt is another great product that you can consider buying. The pathoshield vinyl belt is designed to help caregivers by providing them with a comfortable grip. This ergonomically secure belt assists your patients with walking and standing effortlessly.
This belt is perfect for infection control and ambulance assistance. What’s remarkable about this product is that the high-quality plastic-coated liquid-proof webbing disinfects with spray. You can even use a wipe-on disinfectant. Besides, the belt comes without stitches, unlike other gait belts.
As a result, the belt has a sealed construction and doesn’t allow bacteria infestation. The 2-inch wide helps you work with the belt without much effort because you have a firm grasp over it. Also, the belt is adjustable to up to 72 inches which makes it suitable for people even with a bigger waist.
The plastic-coated polyurethane webbing on the belt makes it durable enough to hold up to 350 pounds. The Skil-Care gait belt comes with a side-release buckle from Delrin that keeps the belt secured when in use. If you want someone to ambulate with a gait belt, go forward and purchase this belt.
A gait belt is an incredible but simple tool used for helping bariatric patients with mobility problems move around. Also, the belt help retains the mobility of patients to a great extent. If you are a nurse who regularly works with patients having limited mobility, you should have a gait belt and use them for an effective result. Moreover, you should know how to use the belt to benefit both their health and at the same time save your back from possible strains.