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How To Make A Bed

What is it?

Making a bed is easier when there is no one in it. Having the bed neat and clean helps keep a sick person comfortable. Clean sheets that are pulled tight on the bed so there are no wrinkles may also help prevent bedsores.

Checklist for changing an empty bed:

Lock the wheels if you are making a hospital bed.

  • __ 1. Gather your supplies. Put these items close to the bed.
    • Clean sheets, pillowcases, and blanket or bedspread.
    • Folded sheet or a drawsheet.
    • Disposable gloves.
    • Laundry bag or hamper to put dirty sheets into.
    • Waterproof pads, if needed.
  • __ 2. Remove the dirty sheets from the bed.
    • Put on gloves to keep from getting urine, bowel movement (BM), or other body fluids on your hands.
    • Lower the head of the bed so the bed is flat if you are changing a hospital bed. Raise the bed to a comfortable height to protect your back.
    • Check the bed for items such as the person's glasses, and put them in a safe place.
    • Remove the pillowcases from the pillows.
    • Take the dirty sheets and blankets off the bed. Put them in the laundry bag or hamper.
    • Do not shake the sheets. This will help to keep from spreading germs.
  • __ 3. Put a clean bottom sheet on the bed.
    • Put the center fold of the bottom sheet in the middle of the mattress.
    • If the bottom sheet is fitted, fix the corners of the sheet on the side of the mattress nearest you. Walk around to the other side of the bed and fix the other two corners.
    • If the bottom sheet is flat (not fitted), "miter" the two corners at the head of the bed. Go to the next step in this checklist to learn about mitering corners.
  • __ 4. If the sheet is flat (not fitted), miter (MY-ter) the sheet corners. Repeat these steps for all sheet corners that need to be tucked in.
    • Lift the corner of the sheet and hold it up from the mattress. Hold it straight up from the corner of the mattress to form a triangle.
    • Pull the triangle with one hand, and with a finger from your other hand, form a corner.
    • Rest the part of the sheet with the triangle on top of the bed.
    • With both hands, tuck the sheet hanging near the corner under the mattress.
    • Rest the part of the sheet with the triangle on top of the bed.
    • Let the triangle land straight on the side and tuck it under the mattress.
  • __ 5. Put the drawsheet (if used) with the center fold in the middle of the bed. Tuck the rest of the drawsheet under the mattress on both sides. This sheet may be used to move the person in bed. Make sure the bottom sheet and draw sheet do not have wrinkles. Place a waterproof pad in the middle of the bed (under or on top of the drawsheet) if needed.
  • __ 6. Put the top sheet with the center fold along the middle of the bed. Line up the top part of the sheet with the top part of the mattress. Put the bedspread over the top sheet with the center fold along the middle of the bed. Miter the corners of the top sheet and the bedspread at the foot of the mattress. Pull the top linens up at the toes to make a pleat. This allows room for the person's feet to move. It may also help avoid skin sores or foot drop. Put new pillowcases on the pillows and fluff them up.
  • __ 7. After changing the bed, adjust the bed height. Lock the wheels of the bed if they are unlocked. Lower the bed enough so the person can safely get back in bed.
  • __ 8. Help the person back in bed. Make sure the person is in a comfortable position. If necessary, raise the siderails.
  • __ 9. Take the dirty sheets to the laundry area. Remove and put away all items used. Take off your gloves and throw them away. Wash your hands.

How can I help make a person comfortable in bed?

  • Bed sheets should be soft and easy to wash. Old sheets are usually softer than new ones.
  • Use blankets and bedspreads that are not heavy and are easy to wash.
  • Wash all sheets and other bed linens using mild soap to avoid skin irritation.
  • Some people may be allergic (al-ER-jik) to certain laundry detergents and fabric softeners. Always double-rinse (rinse two times) bed linens after washing them. Ask your caregiver about the best soaps to use if the person in bed has allergies.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your illness, injury, or surgery, and how to make a bed. You can then discuss your treatment options with your caregivers. You can work with them to decide what care will be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.