Moving the Resident to the Side of the Bed

Written by Hollie Finders, RN
Hollie Finders is a registered nurse with years of experience working in the health care field. She has degrees in both biochemistry and nursing. After working with patients of all ages, Hollie now specializes in pediatric intensive care nursing. Hollie’s LinkedIn

Procedure for Moving a Patient to the Side of the Bed

Equipment needed: pillow.

  1. Perform hand hygiene.
  2. Explain the procedure to the resident and ask for his or her assistance in following directions.
  3. Lock the bed wheels and raise the bed to a comfortable working height.
  4. Position yourself on the side of the bed to which you will be moving the resident. Lower the side rail on the working side. Ensure the opposite side rail is raised.
  5. Lower the head of the bed.
  6. Place the resident’s arms across his or her chest.
  7. Assume the correct stance: back straight, knees bent, and one foot in front of the other.
  8. When moving the resident, use proper technique to avoid injury. In this case, shift your weight from your front foot to your back foot.
  9. Slide your arms underneath the resident’s neck and shoulders. While properly supporting these areas, gently lift and move them towards you.
  10. Follow the same procedure for the resident’s midsection, waist, and legs until the resident is properly aligned on the side of the bed.
  11. If turning the resident, continue on with the next procedure. If keeping the resident in this position, fix the resident’s pillow and raise the head of the bed if desired.
  12. Raise the side rail on the resident’s side of the bed and lower the opposite side rail. Return the bed to its original height. Ensure the resident’s call light is within reach.
  13. Perform hand hygiene.
  14. Document the procedure in the resident’s chart and report any changes in the resident’s condition to the nurse.

Important Information About Moving the Resident to the Side of the Bed

Residents are usually kept in the center of the bed for safety reasons. However, moving a resident to the side of the bed is an important step to take before turning a resident onto his or her side. Performing this action allows the resident to end up side lying in the center of the bed and not smashed up against the side rail.

Using correct technique while moving a resident to the side of the bed is important for both the nurse’s aide and the resident. The nurse’s aide should use proper body mechanics during the procedure to avoid injury. If the nurse’s aide is not able to safely move the resident by alone, he or she should seek assistance from other caregivers [1]. Residents are also at risk for injury during this procedure. The nurse’s aide should take care while moving the resident, making the movement as natural as possible to avoid putting stress on the resident’s musculoskeletal system. Moving residents in the bed also creates friction and shear, which can cause skin breakdown and lead to the development of pressure ulcers [2]. To limit the production of friction and shear, lift or roll the patient as much as possible and avoid dragging or pulling.


1. Guidelines for Nursing Homes