POSITIONING THE PATIENT
Bed rest is an important part of treatment ordered by the medical officer. In
addition, the medical officer usually allows a certain amount of physical effort and
movement by the patient. If the patient is unable to move himself, he must be moved
and repositioned at least every two hours, day and night. If the patient can move
himself, he must be encouraged to do so; also, check to see if his posture is good.
a. Orient the Patient. Tell the patient what is to be done, why it is to be done,
and how it is to be done. Usually an orientation including the above elicits the full
b. Modification of Bed Rest Positions. Several positions should be used to
provide comfort, support, and good body alignment. Sometimes a patient is reluctant to
change a position because of a painful disorder; however, failure to change a position
may result in deformity of a body part. For example, the continuous use of head and
knee rests favor development of a restricted range of joint movement at the hip and
knee. An effective preventive position is the front lying (prone) one. In this position, the
patient is flat on the abdomen, legs extended, feet over the edge of the mattress, and
toes pointing to the floor as illustrated in figure 2-3. Other positions include supine
(back lying) (figure 2-4), lateral recumbent (on either side) (figure 2-5), and Fowler's
position (semi-upright with back and knee rests elevated) (figure 2-6).
Figure 2-3. Prone position.
Figure 2-4. Supine position.