When a PT stands close to you or holds onto your hips when you walk so you don’t fall, that’s called guarding. PTs don’t like it when their patient falls, that means a lot of paperwork and paperwork sucks. So I had dinner with my friend tonight and she uses a walker when she walks. Her dad follows closely behind her when she’s walking. He was guarding(holding) her on the shoulder. Wrong. When you’re guarding someone when they walk, you hold the hips, or keep your hands close to the hips. Not at the waist, at the hips. At the hips you can control the motion of the entire body. If you’re holding onto the shoulders and their legs go out from under them, down they go. But if you’re holding at the hips you can prevent the fall, usually. When guarding on stairs you should always be below the patient. If the person is going down the stairs you should be in front of them going down backwards – ready to catch them if they fall. If the person is going up stairs you should be behind them – ready to catch them if they fall.