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How To Change a Person in Bed

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Updated July 14, 2008

Whether you are caring for your loved one at home or visiting them frequently in the hospital or care home, you may find yourself responsible for changing their diaper or sheets or repositioning them in bed. Take these simple steps to make the task easy and comfortable.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 1-5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Start by raising the entire bed, if possible, to a comfortable height (usually slightly lower than the hips). Lower the head of the bed as far down as your loved one can tolerate. If your changing a diaper, unfasten the straps and tuck the side of the diaper opposite you under your loved ones hip.
  2. Turn your loved to the side opposite you. You may need the help of another able bodied person to hold them on their side while you work.
  3. If changing a diaper, you should be able to pull it out from under your loved one toward you if the side opposite you was tucked far enough under their hip. Once the diapers removed, clean their diaper area with pre-moistened wipes or moist washcloths.
  4. If changing the sheets, untuck the corners closest to you.
  5. Roll the old sheets tightly enough to tuck them under your loved ones side that remains on the bed.
  6. Have the clean sheets and diaper ready. Tuck the new sheet corners in the bed on the side closest to you.
  7. Roll the new sheets as you did the old ones and tuck them under your loved one. Use an extra sheet or thin blanket as a draw sheet to help you position them in bed. Fold the sheet in half and roll lengthwise under your loved one. You may want to use chux, or bed protectors between your loved one and the sheets. If so, roll one side of the chux and place on top of the rolled sheet. [p For diapers, roll one side of the diaper, the end with the fasteners should be under you loved ones bottom, and tuck it under your loved ones side on top of the rolled sheets or chux.
  8. With the help of your partner, roll your loved one to the other side toward you.
  9. Your partner can remove the old sheets and unroll the clean sheets and/or diaper.
  10. Tuck the clean sheets into the bed corners on the side opposite you.
  11. Straighten out the draw sheet and chux and fasten the diaper if applicable.
  12. With the help of your partner, grab the chux or draw sheet under your loved one and on the count of three, lift slightly and pull your loved one to the top of the bed.
  13. Fix their pillows, turn to the side if needed (they should be turned every 2 hours), cover with a clean sheet and blankets if desired, and raise the head of the bed to desired level.
  14. Use extra pillows to tuck under their back, between their legs, or under their heels for comfort and to relieve pressure on bony areas.

Tips:

  1. Enlist the help of another able bodied adult.
  2. Tuck the sheets, chux, and diapers as far under your loved as possible. This makes pulling them out from under them easy and safe.
  3. Use pre-moistened wipes, baby wipes, or special skin cleanser with cloths to make cleanup easier and more comfortable.
  4. Consider a hospital bed if you don't have one already. It makes caring for your loved one easier and may make them more comfortable.

What You Need

  • An able bodied partner.
  • Clean sheets, chux, and diapers.
  • Pre-moistened wipes, baby wipes, or skin cleanser and cloths.
  • Extra pillows for positioning.
  1. About.com
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  4. Caring for the Dying
  5. How to Change a Person in Bed - Caring for and Changing Patients

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