A patient’s body may slowly slide down in bed when the patient is in bed for a long time. The patient may ask to be moved up higher for comfort. The patient also might need to be moved up so a health care provider can do an examination.
You must move or pull someone up in bed the right way to avoid injuring the patient's shoulders and skin, and to protect your back.
It takes at least two people to safely move a patient up in bed.
Friction from rubbing can scrape or tear the patient’s skin. Common areas at risk for friction are the shoulders, back, buttocks, elbows, and heels.
Never move a patient up by grabbing them under their arms and pulling. It can hurt their shoulders.
A “slide sheet” is the best way to prevent friction. If you do not have one, you can make a “draw sheet” out of a bed sheet that is folded in half. Follow these steps:
The goal is to pull, not lift, the patient toward the head of the bed.
If the patient can help you, ask the patient to:
Moving patient in bed
Body mechanics and transfer techniques. In: Mills JE, ed.Nursing Practices. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2004.
Updated by: Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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