The Austin team was excited to get together for some in-person training on ways to assist our clients with mobility last week. This training session focused on the safe use of gait belts and mechanical lifts to help our clients with limited mobility. Immobility is highly correlated with morbidity and mortality and for that reason, mobility is crucial to maintaining overall health in the elderly and disabled populations that we serve.
Gait belts are the gold standard for safety when helping those at high risk for falls to ambulate or transfer. The belt simply fits around the client’s waist and provides a way for the assistant to support some of their weight or to assist with balance losses while walking or transferring. Gait belts are an inexpensive tool that significantly reduces the risk of falls and injury to both the client and the assistant.
Mechanical lifts (also commonly referred to as “Hoyer Lifts”) provide a safe means for moving a client with significant mobility challenges or weight-bearing precautions. Many clients would be bed-bound were it not for mechanical lifts. The lift is essentially a hydraulic or electric crane-like mechanism that uses an attached sling placed underneath the client’s body to lift them. Once lifted, the assistant can wheel the lift to another surface and gently lower the client.
If you or your loved one have mobility challenges and think these tools could help you to be more mobile and safe, talk with your medical providers and ask for recommendations. Proper equipment selection and training is crucial to safety, and consultation with a physical therapist is highly recommended when considering incorporating these tools into your daily routine. We would love to partner with you and your medical providers to ensure regular and safe mobility for you or your loved ones!
Director of Training & Compliance