CNA Training Skill: Positioning Your Patient on His Side

cna trainingCNA Training

Once you have completed CNA training, there will be certain skills you will need to perform on an almost daily basis. One of the skills you will learn during your CNA training class and will perform often is positioning a patient on his or her side. This must be done during certain procedures, such as giving enemas, changing bed linens while the patient is still in bed, weight measurements that are performed in bed, and for when a patient needs to use a bed pan.


No matter what the reason for using this skill, however, you must know how to perform it correctly. Otherwise you could risk injuring yourself and the patient. In the following article, we will provide you with a short overview of what is required in order to turn your patient on his or her side after CNA training.



How to Position Your Patient On His Side After CNA Training


  • While you are taking CNA training, you learned that the first step to any procedure is washing your hands thoroughly. This ensures you do not pass any microorganisms on to your patient when you touch them. If you are unsure of how to correctly wash your hands after CNA training, follow this hand washing guide. Then, put on gloves.


  • Once you are done washing your hands, approach the patient, introduce yourself, and let them know how you will be helping them today. Explain exactly how you will turn them on their side, the reason for doing so, and answer any questions they might have.


  • Raise the patient’s bed to a comfortable height so you can reach both sides of the bed easily. A general rule of thumb to prevent back injury after CNA training is to have the bed high enough you don’t need to lean down in order to reach the patient.


  • Grab hold of the draw sheet and pull the patient closer to the side of the bed he will have his back to once he has been turned. When you turn this patient, this will ensure he remains in the middle of the bed and is less likely to fall off the edge.


  • Move to the other side of the bed and grasp the draw sheet behind your patient’s back. Pull the draw sheet up and toward you slowly to roll the patient onto his side.


  • If your patient can, ask him to grab hold of the bed rail to support himself.


  • If the patient will by staying on his side, arrange three different pillows around him. One should be positioned beneath the draw sheet at the patient’s back to keep him from rolling onto his back again. Another should be placed under his buttocks, and the last one should be placed between the patient’s knees for additional comfort and to prevent the knees from rubbing together and creating pressure sores.


  • Consult your patient to see how comfortable they are. If they want, another pillow can be place under their top arm.


  • Once your patient is comfortable and relaxed, and you have finished performing any other procedures necessary, remove your gloves and dispose of them. Then wash your hands thoroughly again as you learned in CNA training.


Turning Patients on Their Side is Important After CNA Training


Patients who need to use a bed pan, need their linens changes, or are non ambulatory will need to be turned on their sides often after CNA training. Those who are non ambulatory can develop pools on blood in certain areas of their body and pressure sores if they are not turned on a regular basis. By following these simple steps, however, you can ensure both you and your patients are safe and cared for after CNA training.



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