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Bed Issues
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Moving a Person to the Side of the Bed

1. Slide both hands under his upper back until they are under his far shoulder; then slide the shoulders towards you on your arms, using your arms as rollers between the person and the sheet.

2. Slide both hands as far as you can under the person's hips and slide the hips toward you. REMEMBER TO BEND YOUR KNEES AND KEI YOUR BACK STRAIGHT.

3. Lift and move the person's legs in the same way.


Turning a Person to One Side

1. Stand at side of bed toward which you war the person to turn.

2. Cross the person's far leg over near one bending the knee.

3. Reach across his body. Place one hand behind his shoulder, the other behind hi hip.

4.    Gently roll him toward you.


Assisting a Person Out of Bed

1. If elderly person cannot help at all, two people may be necessary to complete the transfer safely.

2. Talk with the person and explain what you will do and what you want him to do.

3. If the person has a weak side from a strong make sure you make the transfer in the direction of the strong side.

4. If possible, the bed should be at the height of the chair.

5. Place the wheelchair or chair at a 45-degree angle next to the bed, facing the foot of the bed. Wheelchair brakes should be locked and footrests up.

6. Have person move to edge of bed by rolling toward you. Assist if necessary.

7. Have person sit up, pushing down on mattress with strong side. You may assist by getting very close to person and having him put his arm around your shoulder and back. Bend your knees as you bring him to a sitting position while guiding his knees in the same motion over the side of the bed.

8. Let person remain seated on edge of bed to get steady.

9. Help person put on shoes or slippers.

10. For a stroke victim, position yourself by the person's weaker side and assist by putting your arm around his waist, help him to stand and bear weight. For others reach under person's arms and around his back with your feet placed well apart for better support. Explain that you will both stand at the count of three. Count as you rock back gently until he is standing (if able).

11.Ask the person to turn so the back of his legs are against the seat of the chair. Give support during the turn b holding him around the waist as you face him, then seat him as you squat to keep your hips level with his. Or if able, ask him to hold onto the chair arms, bend forward and lower back into the chair as you guide him.

12. "Transfer belts" are available from home health stores that can make this job easier. Or you may use a man’s leather belt fastened around the waist, over t bedclothes of the elderly person to give you a better hold.

Preventing Problems of Immobility in the Bedridden Elderly

Immobility can cause a wide variety of complications in the elderly. Some of these are pneumonia, muscle wasting, joint rigidity, confusion, depression and bedsores.  To help prevent these complications, you may:

1. Rent or buy hospital bed with side rails and trapeze for easier position change. Check with Medicare to see if you qualify for coverage.

2.    Use extra pillows for proper positioning. Head, trunk and legs should be in alignment (in a straight line). Use pillows against soles of foot to prevent foot drop from occurring. 

3. Do deep breathing exercises; belly breathing, coughing and yawning.

4. Use cool mist vaporizer in the room.

5. Use good ventilation in room.

6. Maintain comfortable body temperature.

7. Offer fluids frequently.

8. Use elastic stockings, if ordered by physician.

9. Bed exercises: leg lifts, knee bends, raising arms, rolling the head, stretching the neck, turning ankles and wrists extending and flexing the fingers and hands. If person is unable, you can move the parts of his body through these motions. As previously stated, bathtime offers an excellent opportunity for this.

Preventing Bedsores

1. Note any white spots or areas. The skin may "blanche" white before it reddens.

2. Note any red, tender or swollen areas on the skin. Do not massage directly on reddened area. Massage around area.

3. Change position frequently - every two hours.

4. Massage around bony areas of the body.

5. Consider using a sheepskin or a flotation mattress.

6. Keep sheets wrinkle-free.

7. Be careful not to scrape vulnerable areas when changing positions.

8. Clean when incontinent (wetting or soiling the bed) as soon as possible.

9. Don't use rubber doughnuts as they can restrict circulation to the sore area.

10. Don't use alcohol or other drying agents on the skin.

11. Maintain good nutrition - good protein and fluid intake.


Preparing for Sleep



Older people often complain of an inability to sleep, and once asleep, often awaken several times at night. This is a normal part of the aging pattern. In fact, with aging, deep levels of sleep occur less frequently and their patterns and rhythms are easily disturbed. There are some things you can do or suggest that might help alleviate sleeping problems.

1. Begin preparation for bed at approximately the same time every night. It is important that you not wait until your senior person is too tired, and becomes irritable or confused.

2. Limit napping and increase exercise during the day.

3. Have person void (empty bladder) just before retiring.

4. Rub back with lotion in slow, soothing fashion.

5. Offer warm or non-caffeine drink.

6. Provide reading materials at bedside if that is the habit of your elderly person.

7. Use nightlight in the room.

8. Use bedside commode, if necessary.

9. Limit amount of caffeine during day; tea, coffee, chocolate, soda pop.

10. Investigate the side effects of any medication on sleeping patterns.

11. If all else fails, a mild sedative may be ordered by the physician caring for the elderly person.