Turning and repositioning a bedbound person


Turning and repositioning of a bedbound person should occur every 2-3 hours to prevent skin breakdown and to maintain general comfort.

Task Time

10-20 minutes

Steps for Turning and Repositioning the Bedbound Person on their Side

  1. Discuss the process with the recipient before and during the process.
  2. Remove all pillows. If a hospital bed is in use, return the bed to a flat position and lower the sidebar closest to you.
  3. While keeping the arms and legs of the bedbound person as close to his/her body as possible, bring the pull sheet towards the bedmaker stopping 4-6 inches from the edge of the bed (the bedmaker must remain on this side of the bed throughout this process).
  4. Release the pull sheet.
  5. Place one hand under the nearest knee and other hand under the nearest shoulder.
  6. After bending the knee initiate the turning process by gently directing the knee to the opposite side of the bed while guiding the shoulder in the same direction.
  7. Using the pull sheet to maintain their side lying position, tuck pillows under the pull sheet to support the back and shoulders.
  8. Place pillows between knees, to support upper arm and under head for comfort.

Helpful tips

  • Pillows for repositioning should not be too fat, as it makes tucking difficult, and position will not be sustained.
  • If siderails are not available, line up backs of heavier chairs along the sides of the bed to prevent falls.
  • Involve the bedbound person in the process of turning and repositioning-- it will make it more enjoyable for them and easier for you.


Thanks to hawknurse for posting a great video.