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How to Prepare a Patients Bed at Home

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Making a comfortable bed for a patient who is sick requires some skill and understanding of the patient’s needs.

Making a comfortable bed for a patient who is sick requires some skill and understanding of the patient’s needs. Nothing, however, contributes more to his comfort and well being. His bed is almost a little world of its own –at least during the time of illness. This part of his nursing care deserves special thought and understanding.

Hospital beds are usually rather firm, a fact which few patients resent. But there is a reason for this firmness. Many beds at home are far too soft. They often sag in the middle, giving little or no support to the back. This leaves a person fatigued and weakened. He may wake up in the morning feeling tired and stiff, rather than refreshed as he should be after a good night’s sleep. Certainly a sagging bed is no place for a sick person who must spend days and weeks in bed. Such a bed may only prolong the illness.

Sometimes the trouble is in the mattress. At other times it may be in the springs. Take a good look at the bed and see where the problem lies. If the expected bed rest will be temporary you may do this temporary solution. If the springs are weak, try putting a thin plywood board between the springs and the mattress. The board should be nearly as large as the mattress itself. This will give good support to the back. The board will also help the mattress and springs to last longer. If the expected stay in bed will be long, consider buying an ergonomic mattress from your local mattress and bed store.

Bed sheets should be large enough to be tucked in all around the sides and the lower end of the mattress. Be sure the patient’s feet are not bound down under the upper sheet. After a time this may cause trouble and pain in the feet. A suitable support to avoid this can easily be made. Place a small box or carton between the patient’s feet at the foot of the bed. This will give the patient something to push his feet against. At the same time it will hold the sheet away from his feet.

The best blankets are those that are made of part wool and part cotton. They should be lightweight for easy laundering. The tops blanket should be protected with a washable bedspread or a sheet. When rubber sheeting is needed, secure a strip about a yard wide. It should be about two yards long, enough to tuck under the mattress. The rubber sheet should be laid across the middle of the bed. This should then be covered with a draw sheet, which is an ordinary sheet folded double, and also laid across the middle of the bed covering the rubber sheet. The draw sheet adds to the patient’s comfort and also makes it easier to keep the rest of the bed smooth and clean.

The patient’s position should be changed at least every hour, or more frequently if the doctor so orders. This will help to prevent bedsores from developing from too much pressure over certain areas.


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Athena Goodlight

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