The Lift Doctor believes you are probably correct in your assumption that use of a transfer/gait belt will be of some value in this situation. However, we must underscore that gait belts and transfer belts are NOT to be used for lifting the patient in non-weight bearing situations as they may cause soft tissue injuries or other injuries to the patient. Their only use in this case should be to help stabilize the patient and avoid having to grasp sensitive areas such as the underarms.
Given the patientís reluctance to allow use of a mechanical device, you might also consider having a serious discussion with him regarding acquisition of an assistive lifting system, either a mobile floor lift or ever better, a ceiling mounted system. His medical condition is most likely permanent, and each time a transfer is made the caregivers are being put at risk of serious injury. When using a mechanical lift, transfers will be much easier and the patient should experience some or all of the following benefits: fewer bruises or soft tissue injuries, decreased chance of pneumonia due to more frequent transfers, less chance of falling, greater safety for his caregivers, and greater personal continuity and peace of mind, all of which should enable him to remain at home longer. Finally, be sure to inform your caregivers about other important factors such as the NIOSH 35 lb. lifting limit, the need to assess each transfer in advance, and how the gait belt should be applied and utilized, especially its limitations.
The Lift Doctor*