Moving a patient from one location to another is a serious task that requires the proper equipment and the right techniques for lifting, supporting, and transporting the patient carefully and securely.
At the center of this discussion is not only safety for the patient but the health of the caregiver as well. Knowing the limitations of both the gait belt and the EZ Lift Vest and what they were designed for will assure you of using the ideal device for the next patient transfer.
The Gait Belt
The gait belt is useful for assisting a patient with standing or moving. Made from soft nylon, the gait belt is comfortable for patients to use when they have difficulty with mobility. Gait belts may reduce the risk of muscle strains and back injuries to caregiver’s.
It is important for the caregiver to know the proper way to position or apply the gait belt on the patient. Prior to moving the patient, the gait belt must be securely fastened. The patient must also be kept close to the caregiver. A rocking motion should be used prior to standing the patient instead of jerking or sudden movements to avoid startling or scaring the patient. The gait belt only controls movement of the lower torso and should only be used to assist a patient with mobility or transfers. It is common for caregiver’s in facilities to use one gait belt on multiple patients without cleaning, which has the potential to contribute to cross contamination.
With improper fit, the gait belt can cause pain when the caregiver attempts to move the patient. Please note that according to OSHA, gait belts should not be used as lifting devices for patients; they should only be used for helping patients transfer from one location to another.
The EZ Lift Vest
The EZ Lift Vest is an excellent alternative to the gait belt because it provides balance, leverage, and control of the entire upper torso. The Vest may also be beneficial in decreasing back, wrist, and shoulder injuries to caregivers and is an ideal manual device for lifting and transferring patients. Because there is no direct contact to the patient, there is less risk of bruising, joint dislocations and skin tears.
When mobility is an issue or the risk of falls is high, the EZ Lift Vest is the perfect solution for your patient. As with the gait belt, caregivers must use proper mechanics and techniques when lifting or transferring patients using the EZ Lift Vest. The Hand grips are strategically placed adding stability when moving the patient; the one piece garment has contour straps that can be adjusted for the right fit to provide comfort for your patient.
During a lifting maneuver, the design allows pressure to be evenly distributed which distributes pressure around the patient’s body. For the caregiver, the EZ Lift Vest promotes good body mechanics by providing excellent back support during repositioning, transferring, and lifting.
As you decide between the gait belt and the EZ Lift Vest, keep in mind that the vest can be of assistance for children as well as individuals with special needs and those patients with disabilities. While the gait belt is suitable for working with patients who have mobility and balance related issues, the EZ Lift Vest provides security to the patients and confidence to the caregivers by significantly decreasing the incidences of injuries to the patient and themselves.