ptbAnyone that works with sick or elderly patients can tell you that there are times when the patient will need assistance moving.  It can be very difficult for a nurse, or aide, to transfer a patient without the use of patient transfer belts.  Anyone that will be ambulating a patient should have access to a belt.  They are necessary to protect the patient, caregiver and worker.  They certainly increase safety. 

            Someone that has never used a belt before will certainly want to make sure that they are well aware of the uses.  Here are some of them:

  • To lift a weak patient
  • To help a weak patient move from one location to another
  • Provide support for a patient when they are unsteady on their feet and walking
  • Protect the worker from back injuries while working with a patient.


You will most likely want to know how to use a transfer belt. The entire process is going

to start by making sure that the gait belt is secured around the patient properly.  It will be a good idea to place the belt over the patients clothing rather than under their clothing and directly on his or her skin.  Tighten the belt around the patient’s waist but make sure that you are able to get two fingers between the belt and the patient’s skin.

Anyone that is working with patients must be sure that they are using the proper lifting techniques.  Even with a belt this will help to guarantee that the worker is not harmed and that the patient will not be harmed either.  Always bend at your knees when you are grabbing the transfer belts for patients at the lower back.  Use your legs and arm muscles in order to lift the patient and pivot them into a chair or more comfortable position.

Those professionals that are providing ambulation assistance for their patients can also use a gait belt.  Once the belt has been placed in the proper location you will see that you are going to want to stand behind the patient and hold the belt as they walk.  This is completely necessary to ensure that you are not interrupting the patient’s movements while they are walking.  However, you will also be able to hold onto the belt to ensure that the patient does not fall.

Those that will be using a gait belt will want to be aware of some precautions.

  1. The belt will not be comfortable for the patient that needs to wear it.  But, that does not mean that the belt needs to be loose.  It should always be tight enough to ensure that it is not going to slip off of the patient while it is being used.  If the patient is uncomfortable then you will need to tell them that the belt will be removed very soon.
  2. You do not want to harm the individual by hurting their skin when you are using this belt.  Therefore, never put the belt on the patient’s skin.  If you are ready to use the belt and the patient does not have any clothing on then you should use a pillow case as a barrier between the belt and the skin.
  3. If the patient would happen to fall while they are wearing this belt you should call for assistance immediately.  Never drag the patient with the belt as this could cause them a great deal of pain and it can cause injuries.
  4. It is never a good idea to use this belt when the patient is not able to bear any weight.
  5. This should be used on patients that are actually cooperative.

Finally, here are some points that you have to remember when it comes to these belts:

  1.  You may need more than one person to move the patient, even with a belt.
  2. If you have a belt with paddled handles then you may have an easier time using the belt.
  3. Transfer the patient on their strongest side.
  4. Always move anything that could get in the way of the transfer.
  5. Double check to ensure that the belt is always secure before you start the transfer so that they do not slip and fall.