It is important to realize, the term ambulates means “to move the body by walking with or without assistance.” Another key point, once the patient has tolerated sitting in a chair, the next step is to begin to walk. Also, the physical therapist will instruct the patient and caregiver about any special techniques required and will prepare a schedule for daily ambulation. As a result, your role as the home caregiver is to assist their patient, as needed, making sure that the physical therapist’s directions are followed. Sometimes the patient may want to walk longer than the directions allow. Always follow the physical therapist’s directions.
When assisting your patient to walk, follow these general rules:
- Assist patient in putting on the gait belt, if needed.
- Assist patient to the standing position, then count to 10 before proceeding.
- Stand by the patients’ weaker side and slightly behind.
- Grasp gait belt in back with one hand while placing another hand in front of collarbone on the weaker side.
- Do not rush the patient; be patient—allow plenty of time.
- Practice good body mechanics.
- If the patient becomes tired, wait a few moments before proceeding.
- Calmly encourage and reassure the patient, as needed.