Making an Occupied Bed


Sometimes, when the CNA needs to change the sheets on the patient’s bed, moving the patient from his bed becomes impossible. However, it is very necessary to change the sheets time to time because dirty linens are the storehouse of infections and soiled sheets can make the patient uncomfortable too. If he is incapable of moving from the bed while changing the linens, then you will have to complete your job with the patient lying on the bed. This task can be completed with the help of another person (if possible). Before you start making the bed of the patient, you must wash your hands in a proper way. You can follow our demonstration of hand washing for that.

Remember to wear gloves before you begin the procedure. Next, wish the patient in a polite manner and explain him that you will be making his bed.

Steps to Follow for Making an Occupied Bed

  1. Making sure that the patient does not fall down from the bed; roll him to one of the sides of the bed. Next, pull out the tucked edges of the sheet (from opposite of the side on which the patient is lying) and roll the sheet towards the patient. The edge of the sheet should be rolled inside.
  2. Next, take the clean sheet and unfold it on the uncovered part of the bed. Roll it towards the patient lying on the other side and place the edge of the neat sheet below the edge of the used sheet. Take a pad and position it on the new sheet in such a way that when the patient turns again, the pad come in between the patient’s hips and the neat sheet.
  3. After you do that, help the patient to lie straight with his back on the bed and his face upwards. Then roll him to the other side of the bed (the side which is covered by clean linen) as gently as possible. After the patient rolls, the dirty side of the sheet becomes free. Roll the rest of the dirty sheet, ball it and place it in the appropriated receptacle (or as directed).
  4. Then unroll the rest of the clean sheet and pull it away from the bed so that the sheet becomes wrinkle free. Do the same thing with the pad too. Tuck the edges of the sheet under the bed and help the patient to rest on it in a straight position. His back should be on the bed and his face should be upwards (supine position).
  5. Next, use a blanket and a clean flat sheet to cover the patient. Make sure that the lower corners of the sheet are properly secured (you can use hospital corners or mitered corners for this purpose).
  6. Ask the patient if he is comfortable. If not, help him in getting into a comfortable situation. Make necessary adjustments in the position of the blanket and the sheet too.
  7. Take off your gloves and dispose them properly.
  8. After you are done with making the patient’s bed and disposing the gloves and used linens, you must wash your hands in a proper way. Follow our manifestation of the hand washing skill for that.

One of the important parts of infection control system is changing the sheets on patient’s bed time to time. Clean sheets make the room of the patient look clean and tidy and it prevents new infections from attacking the patient. Also, the patient gets a feeling of comfort and satisfaction. By using the procedure described above, you will be able to make the patient’s bed very quickly, hence, making the things less uncomfortable for him.

What Does the Examiner See when You Perform this Skill?

Here is a list of things that the examiner notices when you are performing this skill:

  1. If you have done the things that you were required to do in the beginning.
  2. If you unmade the top linen and kept the patient covered while doing it.
  3. If you rolled the patient on one of the sides of the bed and remembered to put up the side rail (if present in the bed).
  4. If you used the appropriate body mechanics and took proper safety measures on the side of the bed that is left unprotected.
  5. If you made use of gloves in case of the sheet containing body fluids or blood.
  6. If you rolled the dirty linens properly.
  7. If you unfolded and covered the unmade side with the clean linen properly and secured its sides and corners under the mattress.
  8. If you rolled the patient on the opposite side and took appropriate safety measures on the side that is left unprotected.
  9. If you removed the used sheet, rolled it properly and kept it away from the clean sheet.
  10. If you kept the used sheets in a suitable receptacle and disposed the used gloves after you taking them off.
  11. If you washed your hands properly, after completing the entire process of making bed.
  12. If you straightened the other part of clean sheet and secured its corners and edges under the mattress.
  13. If you helped the patient in getting back to a comfortable position on bed.
  14. If you applied the top linen over individual and took off the used covering.
  15. If you tucked the lower edges and lower corners of the linen under the mattress and pulled the sheet’s upper edge over the upper edge of the blanket.
  16. If you changed the pillowcase and replaced the used pillow that is positioned below the patient’s head (whichever is more appropriate).
  17. If you repositioned the bed in an appropriate direction.
  18. If you have done the things that you were required to do at the end.

Few More Tips from Expert CNAs

Though the bed making process seems very easy but sometimes, it can turn into the toughest skill present on the CNA skills list. Especially for people with no hands-on experience, the procedure of making an occupied bed can become pretty nerve wracking. In the early days of practice, doing this job will seem to be nearly unworkable! However, with practice and experience, it will become one of the easiest things you have to do during your shift.

One must remember certain things when he is making an occupied bed: –

First, he needs to make sure that each and everything that he needs during the process is available within his reach. Would you want to begin and then stop in the middle to run and get an item that you forgot, to get ready? Definitely not! Second, during the bed making procedure, the patient has to be rolled down to another side of the bed. When you do that, make sure that the rails of the bed are up (on the side of the patient) and the patient gets hold of it. Otherwise, the patient may fall down from the bed. In case, the patient tries to help you in rolling him, allow him to do that. If he can roll with lesser help, things will get easier for you and most importantly, this will develop confidence and satisfaction in them. After you practice the bed making process a few times, it will turn into a lot easier task and you will become able to perform it in much lesser time.

Video Demonstration

Here’s a video that demonstrates the perfect way to make the bed of the patient during the skill demonstration in CNA examination. Have a look:

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