Many patients may struggle with getting to a standing position, which makes the use of a transfer belt critical for their safety and their long term health. Falls can be particularly dangerous for older patients, which is why CNAs are required to demonstrate this skill as they look to achieve their certification. Ambulation is critical for patients who need the exercise to prevent mobility and circulation issues.
Depending on a patient’s status and physical limitations, there are many things to consider when it comes to ambulation using a gait belt. It’s important to pay attention to everything from their clothing and footwear to the medical equipment they may be using such as an IV or an oxygen tank.
To learn more about the proper steps, please follow along with this CNA gait belt skill demonstration video.
CNA ambulation gait belt procedure
- Perform hand hygiene.
- Explain to the client/patient what you are about to do.
- Lock the bed or chair wheels, as appropriate.
- Ensure the client/patient has proper attire, including non-skid footwear.
- Apply the transfer belt firmly around the patient’s waist (your evaluator should be able to place two fingers between the patient and the transfer belt).
- Assist the client/patient to a standing position
- If the patient has a weak or affected side, stand at that side while they achieve balance.
- Once standing, make sure the client/patient is erect with their head up and back straight (as tolerated).
- Assist the client/patient with walking, positioning yourself slightly to the side and behind them. Place your hand under the belt when you grasp it.
- Instruct the patient to ambulate normally with their heel being the first part of their foot to touch the floor while discouraging bad habits like sliding or shuffling their feet (if noted).
- If the client/patient can tolerate it, have them ambulate their required distance.
- Assist the client/patient in returning to their bed or chair.
- Remove the transfer belt.
- Finish your closing tasks, make sure you provide the client/patient with a clean environment, that they are comfortable, have their call light, ensure that their privacy curtain is open, complete your hand hygiene and make any necessary documentation.
* Please be sure to consult the testing materials provided by the skills test provider in your state to ensure that these steps for how to use a gait transfer belt are in compliance. The procedure in different states and from different test providers can vary slightly.