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Which gait belt is best?

If you’ve never been unsteady on your feet, it can be hard to imagine how debilitating that is — the mere act of standing up could be dangerous. 

A gait belt is a tool a caretaker uses to provide someone with a little extra support. The best model securely fastens and is comfortable for the wearer. Dr. Moe’s Solutions Gait Belt is an excellent model because it has handles to provide a more secure grip for the caregiver.

What to know before you buy a gait belt

What is a gait belt?

A gait belt is a durable belt secured around a patient’s waist so a caregiver has a safe place to grip when providing support during transfer. You would use a gait belt whenever a patient is strong enough to move about on their own but unsteady on their feet is at risk of losing their balance, slipping or falling.

How to use a gait belt

Use a gait belt to help a patient rise to their feet or to provide additional balance and support while they are walking. It is important the patient can stand and move on their own because you should only use a gait belt for assistance; the patient should not fully depend on the gait belt for mobility.

How do you assess if a gait belt is a good option?

Before using a gait belt, the patient should be cognizant and able to understand and follow directions. The caregiver must decide whether the patient has sufficient strength, balance and endurance to accomplish what they need to do. Once the patient is more than 75 percent dependent on the caregiver, the activity becomes dangerous to both individuals.

What to look for in a quality gait belt

Nylon vs. cotton gait belt

A gait belt must be strong enough to support a person’s entire weight in the event of a misstep. Cotton or nylon webbing are the two most common materials used for manufacturing gait belts.

Gait belt buckle

There are two types of buckles commonly found on a gait belt. The first is a regular buckle where the strap is threaded through metal teeth to ensure it is secure. The second is a plastic buckle that quickly snaps together. This quick-release option is more convenient and easier to operate but it is not as reliable.

Gait belt handles

A gait belt with handles can provide the caregiver with greater control and a more secure grip than options without handles.

Gait belt length

Most gait belts are around 60 inches long. If you purchase one that is too short, it won’t fit around the patient; if you purchase one that is too long, the trailing ends could create a tripping hazard.

How much you can expect to spend on a gait belt

A basic yet reliable gait belt can cost as little as $8 while the highest-priced models shouldn’t cost much more than $20.

Gait belt FAQ

When should you not use a gait belt?

A. When you use a gait belt, it should fasten around a patient’s waist. If the patient is pregnant, has any incisions, stitches, tubes, lines or injuries in that area, do not use a gait belt. Never use a gait belt if the patient is not wearing a shirt or other clothing that can protect the skin from bruising and abrasions.

Are there any other tips for using a gait belt?

A. Communication is vital. The caregiver must always explain what type of action is required by the patient and give a countdown on when that action will occur. For example, if a caregiver was going to use a gait belt to steady an individual as they stood, they might say something like, “On the count of three, I want you to stand. One. Two. Three. Stand.”

What’s the best gait belt to buy?

Top gait belt

Dr. Moe's Solutions Gait Belt

Dr. Moe’s Solutions Gait Belt

What you need to know: This is a higher-end gait belt that has a few bells and whistles.

What you’ll love: This gait belt features a quick-release buckle you can easily secure and remove from the patient. It is made of premium nylon webbing for durability and features handles for maximum control over the patient.

What you should consider: While most users liked the durable, rubber handles, some felt they were a little too rigid and could be uncomfortable when transferring a patient.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top gait belt for the money

COW&COW Gait Belt

COW&COW Gait Belt

What you need to know: This affordable, well-built gait belt is a reliable option for aiding in transferring fall-risk patients.

What you’ll love: The belt is 2 inches wide and comes in lengths of 54, 60 and 72 inches. It is manufactured using cotton webbing, which makes it durable and comfortable, and the buckle is made of nickel-chrome-plated steel for strength.

What you should consider: While the buckle is dependable and provides reliable fastening, it is a little more complicated to work than a quick-release buckle.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

COW&COW Gait Belt (Quick Release)

COW&COW Gait Belt (Quick Release)

What you need to know: This gait belt features the same rugged construction as COW&COW’s regular belt but it has a quick-release buckle.

What you’ll love: You can machine wash this gait belt. It has a one-year warranty and the webbing has a 350-pound weight capacity. The quick-release buckle allows you to easily secure the belt to the patient.

What you should consider: While it is designed for convenience, some individuals found the quick-release buckle to be difficult to squeeze.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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