How to Use a Gait Belt

Gait belts help protect patients and caregivers from unnecessary injuries when moving the patient from one place to another. A gait belt is secured around the waist to allow the caregiver to grasp the gait belt to lift or move the patient, such as from a bed to a chair. When the patient is walking, the caregiver also holds onto the gait belt to keep the patient stable and balanced. When used properly, the belt helps to protect the patient from falling and also helps to protect the caregiver from injuring their back as they move the patient.

  • Securing the belt – The gait belt should be wrapped around the patient’s waist with the belt’s buckle in front. To avoid discomfort, place the gait belt over the patient’s clothes rather than directly against the skin. If the patient is extremely thin or frail, place a towel between the belt and their body. Thread the loose end of the belt through the teeth in the buckle, then through the remaining two openings. Pull the end of the belt so that it is snug around the patient’s waist. You should be able to slide just two fingers between the belt and the patient’s body.
  • Lifting techniques – When lifting a patient, first bring them to a seated position with their feet firmly on the ground. Position yourself between the patient’s legs with enough room to allow your feet to pivot on the ground. Bend at your knees as you reach your arms around the patient to grasp onto the gait belt near their lower back. Keeping your back straight, use your leg and arm muscles to lift the patient to a standing position. Pivot your feet toward the patient’s new destination, turning the patient in the same direction. Using the pivoting motion to move the patient is essential to avoiding caregiver injury. Twisting at the waist or knees can result in muscle strains or dislocated joints.
  • Walking techniques – When helping a patient walk with a gait belt, stand to their side and slightly behind. This position allows you to keep a secure grip on the back of the gait belt without interrupting the patient’s movement. In most cases, you will only need to grasp the belt with one hand while walking. However, if the patient’s risk of falling is extremely high, you might consider grasping the belt with both hands. If the patient begins to fall while you are walking, bring your body close to theirs and use the gait belt to slowly lower them to the ground.

Here at ACG Medical Supply, we offer a number of aids and supports to meet your specific mobility and physical needs. Contact us at 1-844-463-0737 or for more information on our home medical supplies. We are here to help you!