One subject that is mentioned in many training sessions is the use of handling belts, there are a lot of people working in the care sector that use them to lift, this is wrong.
Here is an extract from “The Guide To The Handling of People” 5th Edition.
When providing physical assistance handlers must be aware of providing the appropriate amount of assistance. Too little, and the person will not be supported adequately, too much, and the handlers are at risk of ‘carrying’ the person, posing a high risk of injury, both to the handler and the person being assisted. Handlers should continuously use appropriate verbal instructions and guidance to encourage the person to be as independent as possible, cues such as “look ahead”, “head up”, “shoulders back”, may be enough guidance and stimulation to enable the person to stand and walk the required distance.
Some handlers may choose to use equipment to assist them to gain a secure hold on the person, such as a handling belt. Handles on the belt are positioned so that the handler does not have to hold onto the persons clothing or directly onto their body. Handlers are advised not to place their full hand through the handle of the belt as this will prevent the release of their hold of the person in the event of a sudden movement.
The NBPA (1997), BackCare (1999) and HSE (2001) have advocated the use of handling belts to provide support in walking. However, all manufacturers and suppliers provide warnings regarding inappropriate use and advise handlers to undertake a specific risk assessment in respect of the weight bearing ability of the person and other relevant factors.
When using a handling belt, the handler must always take care not to exert a lifting force and MUST not attempt to hold the person off the floor should they be unable to continue holding their own weight. The handling belt should never be worn by the handler for the person requiring support to hold on to.
In my experience, carers use them to get service users into a standing position, most of the time they call them Lifting Belts, in most cases carers will say “I’ve always used them for lifting” once told that is an unacceptable use of the handling belt, the next question is how “how do we get them into standing”?
In this case we say you should adhere to what the Care Plan/Risk Assessment dictates, once it is decided that the service user/client can stand safe hand holds and so forth can be applied.
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