Chapter 3: Help with mobility and movement

Helping someone sit up in bed

My grandfather always wanted to be sitting up at an angle in bed; he even wanted to sleep this way and was always so frustrated when he somehow ended up slumping over a little or lying down. We had to constantly shift him back up.

People who are sitting up in bed will naturally slide down over time. To help keep person who is ill as comfortable as possible, you may need to raise them up toward the head of the bed. Below are two methods you can use to do this.

Before you raise the person, lower the bed until it is flat, or as flat as the person’s condition allows.

If possible, ask the person to tuck their chin into their neck during the move so their head is protected. Click each phrase below to read the steps.

Stand near the person’s shoulder, with your helper on the opposite side.

Look toward the head of the bed, and place one of your arms under the person’s shoulder closest to you.

Use your free arm to support yourself by leaning into the bed.

On a signal, such as the count of three, lift the person toward the head of bed.

If they are able to, ask the person to bend their knees and dig into the bed with their heels to help with the move.

Once the bed is raised again to a comfortable position, you can place a pillow under the person’s knees to prevent slipping.

Watch the video for a demonstration and tips on moving someone toward the head of the bed.

Moving Toward the Head of the Bed from Canadian Virtual Hospice on Vimeo.