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.