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Walking and Transferring with Safety with your Patient

Ambulating is another word used to describe walking with your patient. You may have to assist your client with walking inside or outside their home.

Ambulating from one room to another must be done safely to prevent injury such as falls, head injury, hip fractures, shoulder dislocation, etc. It is important to help mobilize you patient safely.

Gentle daily walking is one of the best forms of exercise for all age groups. Research shows that walking can prevent the incidences of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis.

Tips on how to walk safely with your patient:

1. Protect your patient’s body: Apply non-slip socks or slippers, hip protectors, gait belt, compression stockings. Compression stocking should be applied in bed while patient is laying flat. These stocking help prevent orthostatic hypotension that can cause dizziness. They are removed at night.

2. Optimize your patient’s sensory input: Apply hearing aids and prescription glasses. Ensure adequate lighting and that floors are cleared of clutter.

3. Use assistance devices: Have the walker, cane, chair or wheelchair nearby and ready to use. The walker can be used as a seat for them if they are feeling dizzy as well.

* Pro tip – Always ask your patient if they are feeling unwell or dizzy before any

mobilizing/ambulating. To decrease the chances of a fall, do not attempt to help mobilize them until the dizziness has subsided. Positional changes, such as from laying to sitting, are a common reason for dizziness. Wait a few minutes and have them pump their legs back and forth, about 10 to 20 times, to help with blood flow back to the brain.

If at any time your client reports feeling dizzy or you can sense they may fall, have them sit done immediately.

Transfers and Mobilization

Always refer back to your patient’s care plan before mobilization and transfers.

If your client requires mechanical lift assistance you will get specialized training in their home before operating the machine with the patient.

Independent clients will not require a lot of assistance with mobilizing, but you should always stay close by them in case they start to feel weak or dizzy.

Always ask your client first how they would prefer to get up. Also always refer back to their care plan on how to get them up, as well as follow their care plan to get them up. They may be a 1PA or 2PA. This means they are a one or two person assist. They may need a sit to stand lift.

Never pull on anyones’s arms/hands or shoulder to get them up as this is known to cause serious harm to patients and possible skin tears or dislocations.

Use your body mechanics to prevent any injury to yourself. If your client asks you to do something you think that may harm your body or back, explain to them you do not feel safe, but work together to find another solution to help your client mobilize. Always be respectful to your client, and inform your supervisor if this occurs immediately.

Your client may be Independent, 1 person assist (1PA), 2 person assist (2PA), walker assist (WW), cane assist (C), wheelchair (WC), mechanical lift (ML).

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