Bpc #2: How To Get Your Loved One Out Of Bed
* National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S
Getting safely in and out of bed, or doing transfers of any kind, can be physically taxing. Our resident nurses, Tiffany and Amy, offer these steps in learning the ropes:
STEP 1: DETERMINE WHAT KIND OF ASSISTANCE YOUR LOVED ONE CAN PROVIDE YOU. TYPICALLY, IT’S ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
- Independent – no assistance is needed
- Partial assist – light assistance is needed (i.e., to get the feet to the edge of the bed, to get them sitting up)
- Dependent – your loved one can’t get out of bed without someone helping the entire time
STEP 2: DETERMINE WHAT KIND OF WEIGHT-BEARING CAPABILITY YOUR LOVED ONE HAS.
- Full weight-bearing – able to fully stand on their own feet/own accord
- Partial weight-bearing – able to stand but not able to put all their weight down (common in hip and knee surgeries)
- No weight-bearing – unable to stand or bear weight on their own
STEP 3: DECIDE ON YOUR METHOD:
For someone who is dependent or non-weight-bearing, you MUST use an assistive device to safely get them out of bed. A hoyer lift is the type of equipment you will need. They come in manual or electric options as well as floor or ceiling options. If the hoyer device will be temporary, renting a it may be most beneficial. Go through your insurance company first. If the hoyer lift will be permanent, then adapting the floor layout, home modifications and adjusting the type of lift is necessary.
For someone who is a partial assist, there are a variety of options. If you can safely get them to the edge of the bed on your own, there are sit-to-stand lifts, transfer boards and walkers that can safely allow them to pivot to a chair. A transport chair or light wheelchair is a preferred type of seating to transfer to in these cases.
If you can’t safely get your loved one to the edge of the bed on your own, then look at adjustable bedframes/hospital bed options (for two-person beds, there are adjustable beds that offer different settings for both sides) so you can elevate the head of the bed prior to turning your loved ones legs to hang over the side of the bed. This eliminates you lifting them up and straining your back.
STEP 4: LEARN PROPER BODY MECHANICS!
You can’t care for your loved one if you are hurt. Always bend your knees/hips and keep your back straight. Lift with your legs (not your back), and keep your loved one as close to your body as possible (pretend you’re dancing!). NEVER twist. Here are some additional resources that offer direction on proper body mechanics:
ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR PHYSICIAN
If you anticipate your loved one will have issues getting out of bed, ask your physician for a Physical Therapy home health referral. A trained professional can assess your situation, provide recommendations, and discuss appropriate exercises. This should be covered by most major medical insurance policies.
Visit our YouTube channel for talks around aging topics and to watch our Coffee Chats with Tiffany where RN Tiffany Rubin talks about matters you care about.