Ergonomics: Repositioning Nursing Home Residents in Bed

Ergonomics: Guidelines for Nursing Homes

The following are ergonomic solutions for nursing home employees who reposition residents in bed.


reposition bed

Description: Electric powered height adjustable bed

When to Use: For all activities involving resident care, transfer, repositioning in bed, etc., to reduce caregiver bending when interacting with resident.

Points to Remember: Device should have easy-to-use controls located within easy reach of the caregiver to promote use of the electric adjustment, sufficient foot clearance, and wide range of adjustment. Adjustments must be completed in 20 seconds or less to ensure staff use. For residents that may be at risk of falling from bed some beds that lower closer to the floor may be needed. Heavy duty beds are available for bariatric residents. Beds raised and lowered with an electric motor are preferred over crank-adjust beds to allow a smoother movement for the resident and less physical exertion to the caregiver.


trapeze bar

Description: Trapeze bar; hand blocks and push up bars attached to the bed frame

When to Use: Reposition residents that have the ability to assist the caregiver during the activity, i.e., residents with upper body strength and use of extremities, who are cooperative and can follow instructions.

Points to Remember: Residents use trapeze bar by grasping bar suspended from an overhead frame to raise themselves up and reposition themselves in a bed. Heavy duty trapeze frames are available for bariatric residents. If a caregiver is assisting ensure that bed wheels are locked, bedrails are lowered and bed is adjusted to caregiver's waist height. Blocks also enable residents to raise themselves up and reposition themselves in bed. Bars attached to the bed frame serve the same purpose. May not be suitable for heavier residents. Can aid resident independence.


pelvic lift device

Description: Pelvic lift devices (hip lifters)

When to Use: To assist residents who also are cooperative and can sit up to a position on a special bed pan.

Points to Remember: Convenience of device may reduce need for resident lifting during toileting. Device is positioned under the pelvis. The part of the device located under the pelvis gets inflated so the pelvis is raised and a special bedpan put underneath. The head of the bed is raised slightly during this procedure. Use correct body mechanics, lower bedrails and adjust bed to caregivers waist height to reduce bending.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Updated on: 12/10/09
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