Gait belts are used in nursing homes as a way to transfer, walk, lift and bathe residents who are not able to support themselves. Employees of a nursing home are expected to keep a gait belt with them and to use the gait belt as directed by the physical therapy staff to assist the residents. If a resident is unstable or unable to move without help, the gait belt must be used properly to ensure that the resident is not injured.
In Kuebler v. United Methodist Retirement Community, 88 year old Ruth Kuebler fell when a nurse failed to use a gait belt while walking with Ms. Kuebler. Ms. Kuebler’s physical therapist had previously determined that Ms. Kuebler required a gait belt while walking. As a result, Ms. Kuebler fell and suffered such a severe fracture to her shoulder that she had to have her shoulder replaced with an implant.
On May 11, 2011, attorneys Stephanie Arndt and Jules Olsman argued Ms. Kuebler’s case to a Washtenaw County jury, who awarded Ms. Kuebler $160,000 as a result of the nurse’s failure to use the gait belt as ordered. Unfortunately, Ms. Kuebler passed away before the trial. Her family is happy to have finally received justice for Ms. Kuebler.