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Proper Positioning and Safe Transfer Tips for Caregivers

For at-home caregivers of a loved one or the professional caregivers of LivHOME healthcare services, the greatest risk for developing a back injury is always during the transfer or repositioning of seniors. This includes pulling a senior from a reclining to a sitting position, transferring a senior from bed to a chair or leaning over a senior for extended periods of time.

 

The following tips are vital for all caregivers looking to avoid personal injury during transfer or positioning of a senior:

 

  • When moving a senior, keep them close to your own body
  • Maintain your balance by keeping feet shoulder-width apart at all times
  • Always utilize the muscles in your legs as you lift, pull and position
  • When lifting a senior, pay attention to the alignment of your neck and head with your spine
  • Never bend over at the waist
  • Never twist your body when lifting or transferring a senior
  • If a senior is too heavy, ask for help transferring or positioning them

 

The Importance of Positioning

 

Proper positioning is a vital part of caregiving at home. Seniors must be repositioned at least every three hours in order to avoid tissue breakdown and the development of ulcers. Just changing positions can provide seniors with increased blood flow and tissue integrity. Poor positioning, however, leads to increased stiffness, decreased range of motion and muscle retraction. The following are just a few general positioning tips for all caregivers:

 

Sitting

  • Caregivers must ensure that pillows are behind the senior’s back and not their head
  • Weight should be distributed evenly on both buttocks of senior
  • Shoulders of senior should be drawn forward a bit with arms out and straight

 

Lying

  • Caregivers should ensure senior has arms on a soft pillow with elbows and wrists straight
  • Hands of senior should be palm down, fingers and thumb open
  • Use small pillow under both knees of senior, keeping them slightly bent, avoiding leg rotation
  • Avoid using too many pillows under the head of senior, keeping neck from flexing too much 

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