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How to use and adjust a gait belt?

DOCTOR OF THE MONTH - Feb 2014
Feb 2014
User rating for this question
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5931 Questions
Question
I am trying to find something in writing that explains the proper way to apply a gait belt that is a quick release - like a seat belt - basically I need to know how to adjust the belt so that it does not slide when the patient is lifted. It takes a few minutes to adjust that particular type of gait belt ( as apposed to the kind with the teeth ) and I am finding that people are taking them apart and re-threading them so all you have to do to adjust is to slide the belt once it is on the patient. I was taught (33 years ago ) that this was incorrect and unsafe for this belt. Can you clarify?
he belt is usually used initally by a Physical Therapist to carry out the doctor's orders related to ambulation and transfers for a patient who is unsteady on their feet or has weakness in one or both extremities. In all my years in the nursing field, and in all of the areas that I have worked, I have only come in contact with two kinds of gait belts: the quick-release, seatbelt type that you have to take off to adjust (by pushing the belt up through the buckle on one side and pulling it down on the other - you have to do this until you get the belt adjusted snuggly to the patient and it is a royal I will admit), and the other type you just push the belt up through the buckle beside the teeth, pull it snug, and pull it down the other side of the buckle - alot quicker.
Posted Mon, 4 Mar 2013 in General Health
 
 
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 1 hour later
Hi and welcome to XXXXXXX
Thanks for posting your query.

The gait belt is fastened around the patient's waist with enough room for the health care personnel to get four fingers between the gait belt and the person's body. In most cases, two people are needed for transferring, lifting and bathing the resident when using a gait belt. If the patient has bare skin, a towel should be placed between his skin and the belt.

Transferring a patient to a chair or wheelchair requires one nurse on each side. The chair is placed as close to the patient as possible. The nurses each slip one hand into the gait belt and place their other hands under the arms of the patient to slightly lift him up and slowly turn him around to sit down in the chair. Both will lift at the same time. Lifting should be done with the legs, and the patient should be told what to expect before lifting so that he can help if possible.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you.

Wishing you good health...

Regards.
Dr Saurabh Gupta.
Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: How to use and adjust a gait belt? 1 hour later
I appreciate your reply, but my question was actually how to adjust the belt once it has been put around the patient's waist, as opposed to how to perform a transfer. I'm sorry if my question was not clear. We have two kinds of gait belts: the kind with teeth, that you put on, slip the belt through the buckle by the teeth, pull it snug, and pull it down through the opening on the other side of the buckle - and the quick-release kind that looks like a seat belt - this is the one I am having a problem with. Should you slide it to adjust it once it is on the patient like you do the other one - although there are no teeth to hold it in place and it can slide and slacken when you lift the patient, or should it be threaded in such a way that requires you to have to remove the belt to adjust it, by pushing the belt up on one side of the buckle and pulling it down on the other side of the buckle, thus making the buckle impossible to slide, and much safer to use?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 1 hour later
Hi,
Thanks for posting your query again.

Quick Release Gait Belt has a secure buckle that can be snapped on and off easily. Should not be used for lifting patients. Gait belts are often recommended to help caregivers transfer patients or keep them steady as they walk.

Use good body mechanics and a rocking and pulling motion rather than lifting. The Quick Release Gait Belt has a sturdy plastic buckle that latches securely, but is easy to put on and take off.

The insert is released by pulling up the safety cover and squeezing the sides inward.

The Quick Release Gait Belt is fully adjustable up to 50 inches, you don't have to re-thread it each time. Simply buckle it around your patient, adjust the size once and it will be the right size each time you use it.

With the Quick Release Gait Belt, you can size the belt and never have to re-thread! You can wrap it around your patient, clip the buckle and move on!

I hope I have answered your query to your satisfaction. Please feel free to revert back in case you need any clarifications.

Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Regards.
Dr Saurabh Gupta.
Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: How to use and adjust a gait belt? 15 hours later
How do you size it? We have one gait belt per hall and are using it for several patients, therefore, we have to re-size often. My instructors are re-threading all of my gait belts , differently from the way they come from the manufacturer, and I just need something in writing from an authority source to tell them that you do not re-thread to adjust the size.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 42 minutes later
Hi,
Thanks for posting your query again

With the Quick Release Gait Belt, you can size the belt and never have to re-thread.

Standard gait belts have to be re-threaded for each use but this Quick Release Gait Belt has a secure buckle that can be open and closed easily. Unlike a traditional gait belt, you don't have to re-thread it each time.
Wrap it around your patient, snap the buckle closed and move on!

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you.

Wishing you good health...

Regards.
Dr Saurabh Gupta.
Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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