Falls

Ok crisis averted.  WordPress didn’t blow up there was just a glitch in the matrix but they fixed the glitch.

A few days ago I did a post about guarding someone when they walk.  Jo left a comment about holding onto clothing and gait belts.  Absolutely, if it’s an all of a sudden thing grab onto a belt or shirt or something to try to lessen the injury from the fall.  However, when you’re guarding someone when walking, don’t hold onto clothing, clothing can fail.  Now, gait belts are a thing of the past – I think.  I could be totally wrong about this but I was not trained to use a gait belt nor have I seen one used since I started PT school in 2004.  But maybe some people still use them.

This is what I was taught when someone starts to fall and you know they’re going down.  So if you’re guarding someone properly you will be very close to the person and your hands will be near their hips.  Whenever you’re guarding someone, you should be a little bit off to one side – the weaker side.  So if your right side is all messed up from the stroke I would guard you on the right.  When the person you are guarding starts to fall and you know that it’s gonna happen, you know that you can’t prevent the fall here’s what you do.  Your INSIDE leg should go between the patients’ legs.  If I’m guarding on the right, my left leg would be my inside leg.  Take a humongous step forward with your inside leg – PTs can’t wear skirts to work – and put that inside leg between the patients’ legs, lean the patient back against your body and slowly lower to the ground.



Categories: Health, Rehab, Stroke stuff

Tags: , , , ,

39 replies

  1. I had a hemoraghic stroke in March 2011 and in a covalescent hospital in 2012 they used gait belts all the time. Even sent me home with one!

    • March 2011 was a popular month for strokes. There must have been something in the water. They sent you home with a gait belt???

      • What a lousy way to be part of the popular crowd, my stroke was in March 2011 too.

        They used gait belts at my inpatient and outpatient PT, only on me for a week or so, until I mastered the quad walker thingy. They were not “used” on me much, but they had to follow rules and they made unstable walkers wear them. But I saw them used on many elderly patients. They did the hands hovering by the hips thing. When I did a clinical PT at a college, the grad students were using gait belts too.

      • My husband was in 3 different places and each one of them used a gait belt and each place gave us one. My husband is 6’4″ 260lbs, some times he needed more than one PT by his side. His stroke March 2011. We should have a gathering together for all the people who had a stroke on March 2011 😉

        • We should. The March 2011 gathering. My one PT friend is the absolute tiniest thing I’ve ever seen. She’s about 5 feet tall and 100 pounds. I don’t think she could guard your husband.

      • Yep. Well. One of the floor nurses slipped it to me.

  2. Awww! Sorry you lost them but I still got my email. Just thought you’d like to know.

    As I said in my reply back to you. I agree with you. Guarding should be done on the weaker side because nine times out ten that which way they will fall towards. Between the legs is good.

  3. I guess I’m the baby of the group – had my stroke July 2012. And no one ever used a gait belt with me, either inpatient or outpatient. I react pretty badly to restraints of any kind so that might be why. I’m setting you up for a smart ass comment here, Dean. Please don’t disappoint.

  4. My outpatient PT used a gait belt a few times (in spring 2010). I thought it was hilarious. My aphasia was pretty bad, but I think I managed to spit out the word “kinky.”

  5. I am an ancient survivor by these measures November of 2009…Still working on walking improvements. Want to lose the cane altogether. it took a long while for my weal leg (left) to gain enough strength that I could try to work on making my walking more rhythmic. I returned to work 4 months after the stroke in down town Chicago, so a little scary with my not so stable walking.but like everything else, it gets better with time. Marta

  6. Gait belts are still the norm in skilled nursing facilities. I never was trained on use or used one when I worked in the hospital, but when I started in nursing home rehab, it was required by the facility (and is in the over 250 facilities inworknwith now.)

  7. I’m probably the oldster, May 2006 and I did have gait belts used on me. Never had them used to prevent any fall. My only fall was getting out of bed the first night and attempting to walk to the bathroom.

  8. Let me just speak up for the gait belt. Every therapist I’ve had uses them exclusively! Strapped around my bust & never has guarded near my hips EVER

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