Chapter 3: Help with mobility and movement
Making the bed with someone in it
I had to change the bed so many times, I actually got really good at it! It was a bit harder with her in it, but I did learn to do that too.
As an illness progresses, the person who is ill may need to remain in bed, and you will need to change the linens with them there. There is a technique for doing this. Click on each phrase below to review the steps involved.
- You will need a fitted sheet for under the patient, a flat sheet that can be folded for use as a turning sheet, a moisture-proof pad if necessary, a top sheet, a bedspread and/or comforter, and clean pillowcases.
- If two people are assisting, place yourselves on opposite sides of the bed facing each other.
- Let the patient know what you will be doing.
- Watch that any catheters or tubing are not caught on the bed. If they are, move to the other side of the bed.
- If you are able, raise the bed to waist level to reduce any strain on your back.
- If there are wheels on the bed, make sure they are in a locked position.
- Gently remove extra pillows, but leave one under the head of the person who is ill.
- Next, help the person turn toward the other side of the bed. Ensure they can hold onto another person, a bed rail, the edge of the bed, or even a pillow placed on the edge of the bed for stability.
- You can cover the person who is ill with a clean sheet or blanket to help keep them comfortable.
- Loosen the sheets on the empty side of the bed. If there is a moisture pad, roll it toward the person and tuck it under their back.
- Place the clean linen (fitted sheet) on the empty half of the bed. Roll up the loose half of the linens and roll them toward the centre of the bed, toward the soiled linens. Repeat this for each layer of linen. Create a turning sheet to help with future turnings by folding a flat sheet in half and positioning it from shoulder to thigh. As with the fitted linens, smooth the sheet and roll the unused loose half toward the person’s back.
- Use the same procedure if you are using a moisture-proof pad.
- If the person has a catheter (or other tubing you moved earlier), transfer it to the other side of the bed.
- Help the person roll over to the other side of the bed, taking extra care as you move them over the rolls of linens.
- Remove the soiled linens.
- Stretch the clean linens to the other side of the bed and tuck them in. Repeat this for all the clean linens. Ensure you smooth out all wrinkles as they may cause discomfort for person who is ill.
- Straighten out the flat turning sheet and the moisture pad as before.
- Gently roll the person who is ill back to the middle of the bed.
- Reposition the person into a more comfortable position; use pillows as needed.
- Change the pillowcases.
- Wash your hands.
Watch the video for a demonstration and tips on making the bed with someone in it.