How to turn over a bedridden patient

Written by susan abe
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How to turn over a bedridden patient
Turning a bedridden patient often prevents complications such as pressure sores. ( Images)

Turning a bedridden patient frequently helps to prevent pressure sores, pneumonia and pain secondary to immobility. It is often prescribed every two hours, and is most easily performed by two caregivers, but can be done by one nurse with some preparation and experience. A hospital bed is also helpful during the procedure but not necessary.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Draw sheet
  • 2 or more extra pillows

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  1. 1

    Lower the head of the hospital bed to be completely level and remove any pillows beneath the patient's head.

  2. 2

    Pull down the top sheet, any blankets and the bedspread to the foot of the bed, loosely folding them in an accordion style.

  3. 3

    Untuck the draw sheet from the side of the mattress from which the patient will eventually face away. Bring the loose end of the draw sheet to lie loosely across the patient's buttocks and torso. Place a pillow in the area where half the draw sheet has been untucked and move to the other side of the bed.

  4. 4

    Grasp the draw sheet with two hands and steadily pull toward you, shifting the patient to his side to face you. Once the patient is mostly turned, hold his shoulders with one arm and fold and tuck the pillow beneath his shoulders and back with your other arm.

  5. 5

    Place the second pillow between the patient's knees for comfort. Adjust the patient's lower arm and shoulder for comfort.

  6. 6

    Return to the opposite side of the bed. Pull the drawsheet across the pillow support and re-tuck the end under the mattress.

  7. 7

    Replace the pillow(s) underneath the patient's head and raise the head of the bed to a comfortable level.

  8. 8

    Unfold the sheets, blankets and bedspread to cover the patient again. Record the time of the procedure for your records.

Tips and warnings

  • Check the patient's skin often, especially over bony protuberances such as the ankles, knees, hips and elbows for reddening or skin breakdown. Massage these areas gently to encourage blood flow and provide extra padding with pillows or medical foam pieces.
  • If the patient is in a hospital bed, always replace the rails in the upward position after turning the patient.

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