Assistive Devices for Walking
When more support and stability is the issue, walkers are better provider of these features than a cane or a crutch. Unlike canes, walkers do not permit a natural reciprocal pattern which makes its an ideal walking assistive device for patients who have poor balance or limited cardiovascular reverse or those who cannot use crutches.
Proper Walker Use
- The height of the walker is adjusted to the patient. Walkers should be at the hip level of the patient using it.
- The patient’s arm should rest on the walker. The hand grips should exhibit 20 to 30 degrees of flexion at the elbows.
- The patient should wear sturdy and well-fitting shoes.
Assisting Patients with Walkers
- The nurse continually assesses the patient’s stability and protects the patient from falls.
- The nurse walks with the patient by holding him or her at the waist as needed for balance.
Ambulating with Walkers
- The walker should be held on the hand grips for stability.
- Instruct the patient to lift the walker and place it in front by leaning his or her body slightly forward.
- When walking with walker, the patient’s body weight should be supported by the hands when advancing the patient’s weaker leg. This permits partial weight bearing or non-weight bearing as prescribed.
- The patient balances on his or her feet.
- Lift the walker and place it in front again and continue the same pattern of walking.