Changing the Position of the Patient

 Changing the position of the patient is important for the following reasons:

  • To promote comfort and relaxation.
  • To restore body function.
    • Changing positions improves gastrointestinal function.
    • It also improves respiratory function.
    • Changing positions allows for greater lung expansion.
    • It relieves pressure on the diaphragm.
  • To prevent deformities.
    • When one lies in bed for long periods of time, muscles become atonic and atrophy.
    • Prevention of deformities will allow the patient to ambulate when his activity level is advanced.
  • To relieve pressure and prevent strain (which lead to the formation of decubiti).
  • To stimulate circulation.
  • To give treatments (that is), range of motion exercises).
I. In Dorsal Recumbent Position:
  1. Arrange the pillows in the order to support the weight of the shoulders and head.
  2. Relieve strain on the muscles of the back by supporting it, fill in the hollows with small pillows, small pads, or a hot water bottle partially filled with warm water.
  3. Relieve strain on the abdominal muscles and on tendons under the knees. Support with the knee rest provided on the Gatch bed or with a pillow.
II. Turning to One Side:
A. To turn the patient toward you:
  1. Move the patient to the side of the bed away from you by putting your forearms under the body then sliding first the head and shoulders, next the hips then legs across the bed.
  2. Place one of your arms across the patient’s back reaching from the far side to the side nearer you and the other arm across his hips on the same way.
  3. Lift and turn him gently toward you to the middle of the bed.
  4. See that the head, shoulders and hips are properly adjusted, that the neck and shoulders are not cramped and the arms are not pinned under the body.
  5. Flex the knees with the upper leg flexed a little more than the lower leg.
  6. Support the legs by placing a pad or small pillow between them.
  7. Support the whole length of the back with pillows so that the patient can relax comfortably.
  8. A small pillow placed against the abdomen gives relief and comfort especially when the patient is suffering from gas pains.
B. To turn patient away from you:
  1. From the side nearest you, slip one arm under the patient’s shoulder reaching the far shoulder and place the other around the hips in the same way.
  2. Lift and draw his far side slightly toward you so that he is gradually turned away from you.