lifting someone in and out of bed without hurting yourself

Caregivers are at risk for back injuries. That’s a fact.

People who’ve never done it might imagine caregiving is holding hands, making soup, and saying reassuring things. If only! Caregiving can be incredibly physically demanding.

Getting someone in and out of bed when they can’t assist you is a tough job and can be dangerous for both of you if you don’t know how to do it! Here are some videos with instructions on how to avoid injuring yourself or the person you’re caring for.

Here’s how to prop someone up in bed

How to change the sheets with someone in bed

Changing the diaper of an adult while they’re in bed

How to get someone out of bed

Tips on safely transferring someone from bed to a chair to the car

And if you’re feeling sore, here are a few stretches to help you get back up and running.

Written by Allison Powell
I live off of food from Trader Joe's. I spend my life in a cubicle, a la Office Space. I'm kind of obsessed with the internet. Confession: I take care of people but don't identify as a caregiver.

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  1. Some videos are missing on my end. Good news, though, Youtube is LOADED with medical assist videos. It is how I figured to help myself out of bed after a full hysterectomy and dad has no way to help me. Yes, you read that correctly. I had to be my own caregiver. Those videos are such godsends. Check them out. 🙂

  2. That bed looks a little high for a safe transfer

  3. Why have a fitness expert show someone how to move a patient? Physical and occupational therapist are much better at patient transfers. This is a joke. Only the diapering one is right and that shows diapering someone without any protection on the bed. Anyone who is incontinent needs incontinence pads on the bed before the diaper is changed. I am sorry. Caregivers please please ask a real expert for assistance. I am very disappointed in these videos. The Caregiver Space you have to do better than this. I am a long time follower but these are awful.

  4. Thank you so very much for this. My father had a six month period when he could not get out of bed. I searched for videos and finally gave up and did it “my way”. It worked, but this is far superior. Again, thank you for making life easier.

  5. I learned how to lift my mother safely and yet, even when she weighed almost nothing, my back always hurt. Might have been the emotional stress as much as the physical stress, though.

    • No actually there is no way to lift patients safely. All lifting of patients creates shear forces in the back. There is no way around that. If the person requires more than minimum assistance on a regular basis then the caregiver should consider an assistive device. There are many ranging from rather simple sit to stand devices to Hoyer lifts.

  6. I did, but other lifter did not know them. 3 years without work, 4 back surgeries…..

  7. Wear a lift brace, always. Move slowly and certainly. If the person you’re lifting begins to fall, go down with them – don’t strain muscles trying to keep them upright, just cushion the fall and, if help is available, scream like a banshee.

  8. For transfers, the right equipment is a must. What’s right for one person may not be right for another. When my mother was able to weight-bear some, a Posey gait/transfer belt which had multiple grab straps was my go-to device. Once she lost the ability to bear weight, it just rode up her body rendering it difficult to use. I began just bear-hugging and lifting. But as my knees and back began to suffer from 2-1/2 years of lifting, getting her into and out of the car became downright frightening. Enter the Mobility Transfer System Safetysure Mary’s Aide Transfer Sling. I never feel like I’m going to ‘lose’ her onto the pavement like I did with the belt or bear-hugging. It fits just like a diaper over her clothing. It’s been a Godsend.

  9. I had to lift, roll and shift my dad nearly everyday for the past 18 months straight and I can’t count the injuries. Sure, they were more nagging than serious, but still hurt. My dad’s been gone since January, and my left wrist/thumb are still messed up. Thankfully everything else has finally settled back down to normal. My biggest help was a plain old bed sheet. If he was properly centered on it, I could drag him up and down the bed at will.

  10. I currently have 2 separated ribs and a torn intercostal from lifting I’m going to see how we can use these belts

  11. I’m a nurse well trained in the proper way to lift and transfer but after taking care of my mother I now have an inflamed or torn ligament in my groin. Lift with your legs not your back and now I can hardly walk at times.

    • Laura, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through and can fully sympathize with you. After helping my husband care for his mom past 3 years, I’m having the same problem. Pain in groin, buttocks and down my thigh. Was using my legs to help lift her and still hurt myself. About ready for MRI for further diagnosis. Icing the pain helps some incase you haven’t tried that. Wish you luck and relief.

  12. A belt does not get my husband from the reclined position in the bed, the most difficult for me to help him with. In and out of the cart is slow but we have a routine, he has a lift chair for most of the days although it is beginning to not be enough. I am w/o help 99% of the time and it is hard on my entire body. I get a monthly massage, wish I could afford more.

  13. I’m the spousal caretaker & I’ve been safely transferring him since Jan.2015!

  14. Use a gait belt and if possible have a second person jelp


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