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How to Change the Bedding of a Bedridden Person

Updated July 20, 2017

The bedding of a bedridden individual, whether at home or in a skilled facility, should be changed two to three times weekly. This prevents build-up of bacteria in sheets and blankets from perspiration and other bodily fluids. Change an incontinent individual's bedding daily.

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Changing the bedding is very important to control the development of bedsores, also known as pressure sores. Clean, fresh sheets and the changing of position will guard against bacteria and development of pressure points.

  1. Gather the necessary bedding and place it on a chair or nightstand beside the bed. Inform the bedridden person you will be changing his or her bedding and will need to move them during the process. Assure them that you will be cautious and gentle. If the person resides in a facility or is incontinent, put on gloves.

  2. Gently roll the person away from you onto their side. Use one hand to steady and secure them if they cannot hold their body in position. Loosen the fitted sheet from each end of the bed, then roll it toward the individual. Roll and place it against them.

  3. Unfold the clean fitted sheet. Secure the ends on the bed corners. If an incontinent pad is used, place it inside the sheet. Roll the free edge of the clean sheet toward you with the pad inside. Leave some slack. Push and tuck the clean sheet under the rolled dirty bedding and individual as far as safely possible.

  4. Roll the person to face you onto the clean sheet. Use care over the rolled sheets; this may require extra force and also care with the person's body. Step around the opposite side of the bed. Pull the dirty sheet from the bed; this will bring the clean, rolled-up sheet and incontinent pad along with it. Spread and then secure the clean sheet. Make any adjustments for comfort.

  5. Place the bedridden person on his or her back. Cover them with the clean, flat sheet, followed by the blanket. Tuck both under the end of the bed.

  6. Tip

    Change sheets when the bedridden person needs to be repositioned. Ask for help if the person is very heavy or irritable. During a bed change, if the mattress is waterproof, wipe down with a peri-care spray and dry washcloth. Keep the sheets perfectly smooth to avoid bed sores.


    Never attempt a bed change without siderails or someone to hold the peson in place. Some elderly invalids have very brittle skin and bones. Use care and caution during changes. Always use gloves, even at home, if the person is incontinent.

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Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Fitted sheet
  • Incontinent pad
  • Flat sheet
  • Blanket

About the Author

Julie Fletcher

Julie Fletcher has been writing professionally for more than four years and has been published in "WNY Family," "Baton Rouge Family," "Unique Magazine" and online at Familyresource.com and MomGadget.com. Fletcher attended Rowan Cabarrus Community College. Part of her health-care education was provided by training through Elderwood Skilled Nursing Facilities.

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