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Home > Health Library > Caregiving: How to Turn Someone in Bed
Lying in one position for a long time can cause pressure injuries. You can help avoid pressure injuries by helping your loved one turn and change position in bed. This is also helpful when you need to do things like change sheets, help with a bedpan, give a back rub, or change a bandage. When helping someone move in bed, let the person do as much as he or she can.
Before you get started, ask your loved one if you can help him or her roll into another position. Let the person do as much as possible. Move or adjust anything that might be in the way, such as magazines, extra pillows, or medical equipment like drains or tubes.
You may need to help the person move toward the opposite side of the bed so that he or she will have room to roll.
If your loved one cannot move or finds it very hard, you can use a drawsheet to help turn the person. A drawsheet makes it easier to roll the person into another position. You can buy a drawsheet that has a moisture barrier, or you can make a drawsheet with a bed sheet. You can then make the bed using the drawsheet.
It is best to turn your loved one every 2 hours. Turning someone in bed is hard. So have a family member or friend help you. It's easier for two people to do it, and it helps protect you from being injured.
Get your loved one into position
Move your loved one
When you and your helper are ready:
Moving someone in bed is easier when two people can help. If the person you're moving can help, even a little, you may be able to do it yourself. But do all you can to find someone to help you.
You can use pillows to help your loved one get comfortable and to help avoid pressure injuries.
If your loved one is on his or her side:
If your loved one is on his or her back:
When you are finished, smooth out the drawsheet in its original position and tuck it in.
Current as of:
December 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineGayle E. Stauffer, RN - Registered Nurse
Current as of: December 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Gayle E. Stauffer, RN - Registered Nurse
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