Making an Occupied Bed

Care Plan: Change bed linen while the resident remains in bed. Change the top and bottom sheets and pillowcase.

Testing Tip:  Turning patients onto their side.  Please click HERE to learn more


Click on each question below to view the answer…

Why aren’t side-rails used in this skill?

Side-rails may not be present in every setting.  Patients in home settings, assisted living settings and nursing homes will not have side-rails on their beds in most cases.  It is vital that students are able to perform skills in any setting and retain the ability to protect patient safety. By learning how to perform this skill without the use of side-rails, patient safety can be maintained.

Why do we have to use a privacy blanket when we have already closed the privacy curtain?

Although privacy curtain does provide some privacy, we should consider this skill from the patient’s point of view. Patients are often clothed in nothing more than a hospital gown while lying in bed. Once the sheet is been removed from the bed, this patient may feel exposed, even though you are the only one in the area. Since you are active, the temperature in the room will feel much warmer to you. Since the patient is lying in bed, the temperature is going to feel much colder. Therefore a privacy blanket should be used to limit the patient’s exposure and to keep the patient warm.

What if the patient can't scoot toward me?

If the patient is unable to move on their own, they may be moved in segments (legs, hips, torso, shoulders and head) or they may be moved using a draw sheet. If the student feels that they cannot safely move the patient by themselves, they should ask for assistance from another staff member. For the exam, the patient is able to move freely on their own.

Why can't I put the dirty linens on the floor?

Dirty sheets may have bacterial, viral or fungal particles that will be deposited onto the floor surfaces if the sheets are placed directly onto the floor. As patients, visitors and staff members walk through these areas, those particles may adhere to their footwear. Those particles can now travel to other places, such as other nursing units, vehicles or even your home.  Sheets should be placed directly into a soiled linen hamper.

How do I make a good hospital corner?

Tuck the bottom edge of the sheet underneath the foot of the mattress, smoothing it so that it is lying flat underneath the mattress.  About 12” from foot of bed, lift the sheet straight up onto top of bed surface, so that it makes a triangle.  Tuck everything else hanging down under the mattress.  Drop lifted portion back down so it drapes off mattress.

Do I need to wear gloves for this skill?

If there is a chance that you will come into contact with blood or body fluids, non-intact skin or personal skin, you should wear gloves.  Since this patient is completely dressed, continent (able to control his bowels/bladder) and has no sores or incisions, gloves are not necessary.  They are not required for the exam.