Back on my feet

A friend recommended I try a transfer belt to help me stand to transfer a few weeks ago. I had seen a picture before and thought I understood it. The first one therapy ordered had a belt attached with Velcro around the waist and at each thigh with connecting straps in between. After it was put on, the first thing I asked was, "How will I be toileted?" The therapist said we could undo the thigh straps and rely on the waist belt. It sounded reasonable until we tried it. The Velcro on the straps was not substantial and pulled apart too easily. The therapist and I were disappointed because we had hoped it would work.

That belt was returned and another arrived last week. It also had a waist belt and a strap on each thigh that crossed closer to the groin area and unhooked on the outside of each thigh. Again, I wondered how I could be toileted. This transfer belt was sturdy but when the thigh straps were unhooked, the waist belt was not secure enough around my waist. My therapist said she was giving up on that idea.

My therapist told me there is seldom just one solution. She felt I did well enough standing with therapy utilizing a regular gait belt twice a day and thought I could continue using it with the aides. The gait belt was attached under my armpits since it slides up. Even with some rising, it caused therapy no problem. The aides were leery of a gait belt since I did not like using one and have never used one here. In fact, some aides do not like gait belts, either. During their normal day, aides frequently transfer residents without one, especially when they are in a hurry.

Until recently, I stood to transfer without using a gate belt. Two aides stood me by putting one of their arms under one of my armpits. It worked fine unless one of the aides jerked. Jerking motions can result in me having shoulder soreness. The nurse manager required I use the Hoyer lift for safety reasons.

She was also concerned a regular gait belt could injure me. But after the transfer belt did not work out, the nurse manager helped transfer me last week and said she was comfortable with it. I assured the nurses and aides I will use the gait belt religiously so I can stand to transfer.

Last week, the therapist told me therapy has been discontinued and I can now stand up to transfer using a regular gait belt. The dayshift aides are comfortable with it, and they assist me with most of my transfers. Therapy will in-service the aides on the others shifts about my new transfer method

I am glad I will not be using the Hoyer, though it will do a great job if—and when—I really need it. I did not realize how much freedom standing to transfer gave me. Like most things in life, I appreciated the ability to stand much more when I was not allowed to do it.

Related: Getting a lift

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Topics: Rehabilitation