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Repositioning Patients Safety Talk

Caregivers must reposition patients in their beds for a variety of reasons. They may need to be rolled to avoid developing sores, they may need a comfort adjustment, or to be moved so that they can be examined. Whatever the reason, caregivers should be aware of the ideal way to do so. This can impact the safety of both the employee and the patient.

Repositioning and rotating patients in their beds is a common cause of injury. These types of tasks can be repeated several times during a caregiver’s shift. Therefore, it is necessary that precautions be taken to limit the risk of strain and sprain while doing so.

Follow these steps to reposition a patient safely:

  • Make the bed as flat as possible and raise the mattress to a comfortable working-height.
  • Use two people to work as a team.
  • Use a draw sheet to readjust the patient to the desired position.

If a draw sheet is not available, a makeshift version can be made with a single bed sheet. Follow these steps:

  • Make the bed as flat as possible and raise the mattress to a comfortable working-height.
  • Use two people to work as a team.
  • Lie the patient on their side, then place a sheet that is half rolled up, 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 it on each side, 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 in the desired direction.

This process may need to be repeated a few times to reach the needed 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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