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A Tool for Seniors and Their Caregivers
Falls among hospital inpatients are common, generally ranging from 2.3 to 7 falls per
1,000 patient-days. Approximately 30% of inpatient falls result in injury, with 4% to 6%
resulting in serious injury. These serious fall-related injuries can include fractures, subdural
hematomas, excessive bleeding, and even death.
A gait belt is a device that helps to prevent falls. A weakened person, such a patient in the
hospital, is at risk for falls while walking or moving from a bed to a chair or from sitting to standing.
The caregiver should walk beside the patient and put one hand flat on the patient’s back
over the gait belt. One hand is there to monitor movements. The gait belt fits around the
patient’s natural waist snugly. Be certain that at least two fingers fit between the belt and
body, so it won’t squeeze the patient, and do not drag them around. The gait belt is not
meant to be placed around the upper chest, breasts, or abdomen. A gait belt fits around the
patient's waist while the patient is walking or moving with caregiver assistance. Walk at the
pace of the patient on the patient’s weak side to the rear. Take your time.
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