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Repositioning patients, healthcare

Repositioning patients safety talk

Healthcare workers frequently reposition patients for a variety of reasons:

  • Patients may need to be rolled to avoid developing bedsores
  • They may need a comfort adjustment
  • They may need to be examined

Whatever the reason is, it is important to be aware of the safest way to reposition a patient, both for personal and patient safety. Repositioning in a bed is a common cause of injury and these types of tasks are commonly repeated several times during a work shift. Therefore, it is necessary that proper precautions be taken.

Safety tips for repositioning a patient safely in bed:

  • Make the patient’s bed as flat as possible and raise the mattress to a comfortable working-height.
  • Use a draw sheet to move the patient in the bed. If a draw sheet is not available, a temporary version can be made with a single bed sheet.

Follow these steps:

  • Put the bed in a flat position.
  • Lie the patient on his or her side, then place a half rolled-up draw sheet against the patient’s back.
  • Roll the patient onto the sheet and flatten it.
  • Make sure the patient’s head, shoulders, and hips are on the sheet.
  • Grabbing the sheet on each side of the bed, lunge with the foot nearest the intended direction of the patient. This action helps create directionality and momentum.
  • In unison, move the patient by pulling the sheet towards the head of the bed. This process may need to be repeated a few times to reach the desired location and patient position.
  • Remember, the goal of repositioning a patient in bed is to pull, not lift, the patient in the desired direction.


This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for information purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. The information material does not amend the provisions of any insurance policy issued by CompSource Mutual. It is not a representation that coverage does or does not exist for any particular claim or loss under any such policy. Coverage depends on the facts and circumstances involved in the claim or loss, all applicable policy provisions, and any applicable law.

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