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Transferring with an Assistive Device

Family members. and caregivers may find that they need to use an assistive device with either a loved one or a client at one time or another. There are several types of devices out there that may be used, one is a torso support walking belt and the other is a gait belt. While there are benefits to both of them, when looking through a kinesiologists eyes, there is one clear winner for caregiver safety while transferring patients.

The first option shown above is a support harness or torso support walking belt. It is a harness that goes around the waist, chest and torso, with attached handles. When using a torso support walking belt to transfer a loved one or a client, the caregiver may not even notice that anything she or her is doing is amiss or potentially damaging, and certainly from first glance by onlookers, nothing would seem out of the ordinary, but when you see the second row of images above, the red boxes indicate where potentially harmful situations are developing. A kinesiologist would say that the problematic areas from the top down are;

  • A large distance in between both parties - This creates more stress on caregivers body

  • Locked elbows on transfer - Increases a chance of injury to the elbow joint

  • Knee over toes - Increases chances of knee injury

  • Unstable Momentum - Causes a loss of balance and increased fall risk

  • Rounded Shoulders - Strains shoulders and neck muscles

The second option is a gait belt. the gait belt is a simple strap that makes it easier and safer for the patient and the caregiver to move around together, especially when it comes to standing and walking. Not only does a gait belt reduce the risk of patient falls, it also helps protect caregivers from straining their backs. For these reasons, we recommend this device.

As you can see in the images above, there are only two smooth moves to get a patient upright. Here are some tips and additional benefits to using the gait belt for transferring;;

Basics of Lifting Technique

  • Wide Base of Support – Legs should be shoulder width apart

  • Keep head, back, and bottom in alignment

  • Neutral spine – Do not look up and do not round back

  • Tighten abdominals and core for support

  • Do not twist or turn at the waist

  • Keep patient as close to your body as possible


  • Shortens the space in between both parties which ensures that the caregiver’s body will be in most optimal and strongest position

  • Keeping a bend in the elbow activates muscles in the arm decreasing chance of injury to ligaments surrounding the elbow joint and stress on shoulder

  • Head to toe remains in alignment decreasing chance for injury to the knee, back, shoulder, or neck

  • The patient is directly in front of caregiver, lowering chance for fall risk


  • Use leg strength for majority of the lift

Notice this pattern in your everyday life? Please give Reneu Health Inc. a call!

We are a team of experienced clinical kinesiologists who specialize in preventive and rehabilitative exercise for seniors. We believe that aging is part of a beautiful journey and everyone deserves to live their best ​life. We understand that as our bodies get older, it doesn’t function the same. As some see this as a limitation, we see it as an opportunity. With the right mindset, knowledge, tools and support we help improve quality of life, slow the progression of certain conditions and help you take control of your health.

Call us today for a free consultation. San Diego 619.263.0329 or Orange County 949.245.6239.

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