Frequently Asked Questions on Gait or Transfer Belts

Why Use a gait belt?

Using a gait belt while transferring or walking a patient provides the care giver and the patient increased safety and security. The caregiver can control a patient’s balance and keep the patient from falling with the help of a gait belt. It also decreases the chances of hurting your back.

How to put a gait belt on?
  • With the patient in a seated position, place the gait belt snugly at the patient’s.
  • Fasten the buckle in front of the patient. The belt must be tied such that there is just enough room to get your fingers under the belt. 
  • When positioned correctly, the belt will be between the bottom of the patient’s rib cage and the top of the pelvis. 
  • The belt may loosen when the patient stands up, so be sure to tighten it again before further activity.
What precautions must be taken to prevent back injuries?

Be sure to use proper body mechanics to decrease the chance of hurting your back: 

  • Bend your knees and keep your back straight. 
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles to protect your back
  • Lift using your leg muscles. Do not use your back muscles.
  • Do not twist your body while moving or lifting a patient.
What exeptions must be taken into consideration while placement of a gait belt?

A gait belt must not be placed on the abdomen in case of:

  • Recent abdominal surgery or back surgery with a healing or tender incision 
  • Pregnancy
  • Umbilical or inguinal hernia
  • PEG tube 
  • Colostomy or ileostomy

Place the gait belt higher on the trunk at the level of the armpits. It still needs to be snug and may need to be tightened when the patient stands. If the patient is female, be sure it is not over her breasts.

What are the benefits of transfer belts with handles?

You can minimize the risk of falling by using gait/transfer belts with handles that permit the safe assist of a person who retains some weight-bearing capacity. Raising and lowering a patient becomes much easier with these walking belts and gait belts for patient mobility.