Mastering the Art of Utilizing a Sliding Sheet

Ensuring safe manual handling within the household is an essential aspect of the caregiver's daily routine. It is crucial to utilize appropriate equipment and techniques that prioritize the safety and provision of high-quality care.

In this blog, we will explore the proper placement of slide sheets underneath an individual to facilitate their movement up the bed, across the bed, and onto their side. Additionally, we will discuss the correct removal of slide sheets from underneath someone.

Preliminary Steps:

  • Connect two slide sheets and thoroughly inspect them for any signs of damage or wear and tear.
  • Verify that the slide sheets easily glide against each other.
  • Ensure that the slide sheets are of sufficient length to stretch from the person's head to their heels, preventing skin shear or friction. If the slide sheets fall short of reaching their heels, a smaller sheet may be placed under the heels.
  • If only one slide sheet is available, ensure that it is appropriately sized when folded, with the opening facing the direction of movement.
  • IMPORTANT: It is highly recommended to always utilize two slide sheets simultaneously.

The Rolling Technique

The rolling technique is a commonly employed method to position slide sheets beneath an individual.

You will need two slide sheets and two caregivers.

  • Adjust the bed to a safe working height that eliminates the need for caregivers to lean or bend over, thus reducing the risk of potential injuries.
  • If rolling the person towards their right side, bend their left knee, place their left arm across their chest, and instruct them to turn their head to the right. Utilizing safe manual handling techniques, roll them towards you. (Alternatively, reverse the instructions if rolling to the person's left side). The second caregiver can then insert the slide sheets from behind.
  • Roll the person onto their back and ensure that the slide sheets are positioned centrally.
  • The Unraveling Approach

    In certain cases, rolling an individual may prove challenging due to their size or discomfort. In such instances, the unravelling method can be employed to position the slide sheets underneath them.

  • Place two slide sheets lengthwise together. Starting from the foot end, fold the sheets approximately 30cm at a time until you reach the end. Make sure that the openings are positioned on top and under the person's pillow.
  • The folded slide sheets should then be unravelled incrementally, moving from the head towards the feet, one fold at a time. To do this, use the hand at the bed head end to stabilize the slide sheet by holding onto the seams at the top edge.
  • Use the hand at the bed's foot end to slide underneath the sheet and sequentially unravel each fold. Ensure this hand maintains contact with the bed and avoids lifting upward, as doing so may exert unnecessary pressure on the skin.
  • If the person is on an alternating air mattress, temporarily set it to full inflation, as this can assist in executing the method.
  • Moving a Person up the Bed

  • When shifting someone up the bed, it is advisable to place a pillow against the headboard as a precautionary measure against inadvertent injury.
  • Both caregivers should firmly grasp the top slide sheet near the person's body, at the upper thigh and shoulder level. The caregiver's front foot should face the direction of movement towards the head end of the bed.
  • To ensure effective communication, it is essential that caregivers proceed to reposition the resident by moving them up the bed. This should be done using a sliding motion, avoiding any inclination to lift the slide sheet.
  • If the individual is capable of participating in the movement, caregivers should offer assistance as needed to help them bend their knees and place their feet flat on the bed. It is advisable to fold the slide sheets so that they do not interfere with their feet. If necessary, stabilize their knees and ankles to facilitate their self-propulsion up the bed using their legs and feet.
  • If the bed is equipped with the Trendelenburg function, it can be employed to minimize the amount of manual effort required during the repositioning process. This feature can also be beneficial for individuals who are able to reposition themselves.
  • Positioning on the Side

    Slide sheets can be utilized to position a person on their side.

  • Position the slide sheets using one of the previously mentioned methods.
  • To ensure a safe side-lying position, it is essential to create sufficient space. Begin by performing a lateral transfer to the side opposite the direction the individual will face.
  • Always make sure that there is another caregiver positioned on the opposite side of the bed to prevent any accidental falls.
  • Utilize appropriate pillows or positioning aids, as per the individual's assessment, to maintain the newly achieved position.
  • Lateral Transfers

    Slide sheets can also be employed for lateral transfers, such as moving someone from a bed to a shower trolley.

  • Position the slide sheets as previously demonstrated, and place a slide board beneath them. Bring the shower trolley into position, ensuring that it is at the same height or slightly lower than the bed.
  • Ensure that both the bed brakes and the shower trolley brakes are fully engaged.
  • The caregiver on the pulling side should grasp the top slide sheet and shift their weight from their front leg to their back leg. It is important to maintain a straight back and utilize the legs, core muscles, and body weight to execute the transfer. The caregiver on the pushing side should provide assistance during the transfer.
  • Removing Slide Sheets

    Slide sheets should never be left beneath a person.

  • Begin by removing the bottom sheet. Take hold of its top corner and fold it back underneath itself while gradually moving down the bed.
  • Repeat the same process with the top slide sheet. Sliding the sheet beneath itself helps reduce shear forces that can damage the skin or cause pressure injuries.
  • When removing the slide sheets after rolling the individual, it is advisable to remove them from behind the resident, as there is typically more material at their back.
  • If there is a risk of the person sliding back down the bed during the removal of slide sheets, the technique can be reversed by starting from the foot end and sliding the sheet under itself towards the head end.
  • Bear in mind these tips for safer manual handling when utilizing slide sheets. For additional information, you can watch the comprehensive instructional video here.

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