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A gait belt is a device used by caregivers to transfer care receivers with mobility issues from one position to another, from one location to another or while assistively ambulating patients who have problems with balance. For example, a gait belt is used to move a patient from a standing position to a wheelchair. The gait belt has been customarily made out of cotton webbing, with a durable metal buckle on one end. Cleanable vinyl gait belts were introduced in 2001 by Chapman Medical Products LLC, due to the tendency of webbing to harbor supergerms.
Gait belts are worn around a patient's waist. Their purpose is to put less strain on the lumbar spine of the care giver(s) who support the patient. Gait belts are used in nursing homes, hospitals, or other similar facilities.
In September 13, 2017 Douglas Manor nursing home in Windham was fined $1,530 after a patient suffered several injuries when staffs failed to use the gait belt when assisting with transfer.
The OSHA website offers current practice guidelines for the use of gait belts. The guidelines point out that more than one caregiver may be needed, and that belts with padded handles are easier to grip. It further states that gait belts are never used as restraints or on patients with G-tubes, and are avoided with patients who have catheters.
- Lindh, Wilburta Q.; Pooler, Marilyn; Tamparo, Carol D.; Dahl, Barbara M.; Morris, Julie (15 April 2013). Delmar's Comprehensive Medical Assisting: Administrative and Clinical Competencies. Cengage Learning. p. 977. ISBN 9781285712642.
- Writer, Cara Rosner Conn. Health I-Team. "Eight Connecticut nursing homes fined following lapses in care". West Hartford News. Retrieved 2017-09-25.
- "Guidelines for Nursing Homes: Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders". Osha.gov. Retrieved 2014-03-25.