Turning Patients Over in Bed

It’s hard to get close enough to patients in bed to turn them over safely, so concentrate on putting your body as close to theirs as you can. Usually one or two people can turn a patient safely. Or, you can use a ceiling lift (if available), especially if the patient weights over 200 pounds. The patient can sometimes help by pushing down with a heel. Start the turn with the patient on the side of the bed opposite the direction he or she will be rolling.

Moving patient

Step 1. Cross arms

  • Put the bed rail and head of the bed down; adjust the top of the bed to waist- or hip-level.

  • Cross the patient’s arms on his or her chest; bend the leg farther away from you.

Moving patient

Step 2. Turn the patient

  • Put one hand behind the patient’s far shoulder.

  • Put your other hand behind the patient’s hip.

  • Turn the patient, supporting the patient’s leg with your knee.

  • Put the rail back up when you have finished turning the patient.

  • Alternatively, one or more attendants can push the patient gently to the side of the bed. Be sure the side rails are in place on that side.

Remember: Putting one knee on the bed gets you closer to the patient, so you pull more with your body and less with your back.