Patients on bed rest should be encouraged to move themselves if they can; this is vital for preventing some of the negative impacts of prolonged inactivity, such as blood clots and muscle wasting. However, in some cases you’ll need to assist them.

It’s easier to move a person with two carers, but it’s generally quite possible to do it alone, if you know how to manage it safely.

Turning a patient in bed:

It’s very important that a person confined to bed changes position regularly – preferably every couple of hours. Again, get the person to help with moving themselves as much as possible.

Follow these steps:
• Stand on the side of the bed towards which the patient will be rotated.
• Lift the leg furthest from you and lay it across the other.
• Position the arm nearest you out to the side so the patient won’t end up lying on it once they’ve been turned.
• Put one hand on the patient’s shoulder and the other on the patient’s hip, and gently roll them towards you.

If necessary, you can use pillows or cushions against the patient’s back to help keep them in position and enhance comfort.

This procedure is also the starting position when getting the patient up out of bed.

Moving from the bed to a chair/ wheelchair, or into a standing position for walking:

• Place the chair beside the head of bed. If you’re using a wheelchair, lock the wheels and lift the foot rests out of the way.
• Roll the patient onto their side, so that they’re facing you at the bedside. You can use the method described above (for turning the patient in bed).
• Ask them to bend their legs at the knee and prop themselves up on the elbow closest to the bed, if they can. You may need to gently pull them towards you and the edge of the bed, placing your one hand behind their knees and the other on their back.
• Steady the person’s pelvis, and help them sit up and swing their legs to the floor. Sit the person on the edge of the bed with their feet flat on the floor.
• Stand in front of the sitting person and place their hands on your shoulders. Hold the person under their arms. Brace your knees against their knees.
• On the count of three, pull the person up into a standing position.
• From a standing position, you can walk with the person. Or, you can rotate them until they have their back to the chair or wheelchair. Gently lower them into it

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