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Getting Started

  • Clear clutter to create a safer environment for movement.
  • Transfer on the strong side of the person receiving assistance.
  • When moving or repositioning people, always face them, and keep them—as well as equipment and supplies—close to your body.
  • Bend your knees, and kneel or squat to lower your body to the height where you are working. Keep your back straight, and distribute weight to your thighs and buttocks rather than your back.
  • Do not twist when turning; pick up your feet and pivot your whole body in the direction of the move.

Using a Hospital Bed




Changing Positions

Assisting a person from lying to sitting:

  • Go to the side of the bed where the person (patient) will sit.
  • If possible, raise the head of the bed so the patient is in a sitting position.
  • Roll the patient toward you, with their arm reaching for the side rail (if using a bed with rails) and with their legs by edge of bed. Use your body to prevent them from coming off the mattress.
  • Ask the patient to push up with their arms and swing their legs over the edge of the mattress at the same time.
  • If possible, lower the bed to the patient’s sitting height.
  • Provide verbal countdown and cues. Keep your knees flexible and your back straight. To assist the patient, lift their shoulders with one hand and use your other hand to move their legs off the bed. Keep your body in front of the patient.
  • Ensure the patient is stable before having them scoot forward so their feet can touch the floor.

Rising from sitting to standing position:

  • Ensure that the patient is wearing non-skid socks or shoes.
  • Put the gait belt onto the patient, and then stand facing them, as close as possible.
  • Place one foot slightly behind the other for balance, with your weight equally distributed between both feet.
  • Have the patient scoot forward until their feet are flat on ground.
  • Bend your knees and keep back straight. Grasp the gait belt from underneath.
  • Use a gentle rocking motion to take advantage of momentum to aid them to standing position by pulling on the gait belt (not lifting). Use verbal cues such as “On three, I want you to push up with your arms from the bed/chair to stand.”

If you are moving to any type of chair after standing, incorporate the following steps:

  • Place the chair to which the patient is transferring at a 90-degree angle on the patient’s strong side.
  • While standing, rock back and forth in a dancing motion to pivot the patient until the back of their knees touches the surface of the chair.
  • Have the patient reach back to hold the armrests. Lower them by bending your knees, but keep your back straight. Remove the gait belt after they are seated.

Using a Shower Chair or Bath Bench

  • When weakness prevents a person from standing for long periods, a shower chair or bath bench can be used for safety when bathing.
  • A person should never use a shower chair or bath bench when alone if they are too weak to do so independently.
  • Make sure a chair or a bench is secured in the tub, and dry the equipment before use to reduce slipping.
  • Place a towel on the seat to help prevent the person from sliding off.

Hospice Caregiver Support

If you need help urgently for an Agrace Hospice Care patient, please call. Otherwise, email us directly at caregiversupport@agrace.org, or send your questions through our online contact form.

Call (800) 553-4289

Call to talk to an interpreter / Tenemos intérpretes disponibles: (800) 930-2770


More Care Tips for Families

For more expert advice from Agrace, visit Agrace.org/CareTips.