› Making An Occupied Bed

Techniques for Making An Occupied Bed

One major reason behind this technique is so you don’t waste time and energy walking from one side of the bed to the other over and over. 

The other important reason is that your patient is probably not feeling well and the last thing he or she wants is to have someone bustling back and forth a gazillion times and making him move more than necessary.

FTC required Disclaimer: I receive commissions for purchases made through commercial links on this website. Also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

When making an occupied bed, make sure side rails are up on the side the patient will roll and down on your side in order to work efficiently and safely. 

Some facilities have the directive that side rails are considered restraints and therefore need to be put back down when you are done. 

Follow facility protocols regarding side rails.

Making An Occupied Bed Video

The other option for the over-bed table is to clean it off with antiseptic wipes if no barrier available. Also, feel free to take everything off the table so you can place your linens on them. Just remember to reassure the patient that you will put things back when you are done. And then remember to do just that!

Remember to raise the bed to avoid back issues. In 30 years, you'll thank me for that tip!

You need to wear gloves only if sheets are visibly soiled/wet.

If your patient is wearing glasses, ask if you can remove them so they don’t get broken when the patient rolls on his side.

Make sure there is enough room for the patient to roll without smacking his nose on a side rail. Make sure the patient’s arm on the bed is not in an awkward position when he is rolled.

Patients may have a variety of tubes and lines attached to them. When making an occupied bed, check to make sure there is enough line in any:

  • IVs
  • foley catheters (unhook the bag from the side of the bed and place on the bed with the patient)
  • oxygen tubing
  • gastric tubes attached to a feeding
  • NG tubes attached to suction

You want to be able to turn without pulling on them.

If the patient cannot roll themselves, there is usually (always?) a cloth incontinent pad or a draw sheet under the patient to assist you in positioning the patient. You would use the draw sheet to pull the patient’s trunk towards you.  The plastic disposable incontinent pads are not strong enough to use in this manner.

Then move his head and shoulders towards you, then the legs towards you.  That way his body is properly aligned.

While the patient is still on his back, take the leg closest to you and bend it at the knee. Turn the patient away from you towards the elevated side-rails using the draw sheet. The bent knee will roll to the side as well.

Reposition the pillow to be comfortable.

Add a chux (disposable blue incontinent pad) or draw sheet immediately after positioning the bottom sheet if one was on the bed before you began changing the linens or if you feel one is necessary for purposes of collecting urine or assisting in turning the patient.

nurse making a hospital bed

If you found the information on these pages to be helpful to you, please consider making a donation to support the continuation and growth of this website.

Related Pages

Basic Nursing Skills