Gait Belt to Fit a 500-600 Pound Man

Anonymous Question:

Dear Marcia,

I am a nurse practitioner and have a patient that weighs 500 or more pounds.

I need to know how to use a gait belt for him but regular gait belts are too small and won't fit around him.

Do you have any suggestions for what I can use to safely transfer him using a gait belt?

Marcia's Answer:

Thank you for such a great question and what motivation and inspiration to know that your patient is on the move!

The 'how to use a gait belt' question just never goes away! I'm a huge fan of the safety of gait belts and have learned to use them in all situations.

What I have done in the past when my single gait belt did not fit around my patient is to simply use as many gait belts as I needed to, linking them together at the buckle.

Take the buckle end of one gait belt and thread the loose end of another gait belt through it as if you are securing it around a patient. Now your gait belt is that much longer. Use as many as you need to.

Caution... gait belts tend to slip up to the armpits based on body size and the fact that many people do not want to cinch the belt down. Based on the body shape of your patient, secure it as tight as you can around his waist - possible using a "fat roll" to your advantage by securing the belt below that level.

You may find our YouTube Channel helpful. We have a video posted about how to use a gait belt and how to buckle it.

Your patient may be interested in Wheelchair Freedom - Get Help. Get Up. Get Out. My e-book that encourages wheelchair or bed-bound patients on a path of strengthening and stretching.

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