Manual Handling of People & Slide Sheets _ how to use them
Manual Handling Training
Slide sheets! We must use them correctly…here is why…
Slide sheets come in all shapes and sizes, we have long ones, short ones, one way ones, four way
ones, we have Wendyletts that we can leave on the bed, we have one use only ones and side way
ones…and so many more!
What we need to understand, is if we use slide sheets properly and for the intended purpose, then
we can prevent back injuries to staff and sheer damage and stress to the service user.
Firstly, lets look at why we need to use slide sheets?
The use of slide sheets can assist the service user up the bed, sideways, down the bed or a general
gentle reposition of hips, legs and shoulders. We can use these sheets to turn people on to their
side so that they are in position to receive effective personal care. Rolling the service user without
one can be uncomfortable to the service user and strenuous to the staff member.
We also have to take into consideration the impact on the skin of the service user. Constant friction,
trying to shuffle up and down or possibly being dragged (which is illegal) by the bed sheet or limbs is
undignified, abuse and totally unnecessary.
Service users that are being nursed in bed, have difficulty moving themselves up or down the bed or
spend a duration of their time in bed can be exposed to pressure on their skin. If the service user is
not moved correctly then we run the risk of sheer and tearing of the skin.
So, to move our service user safely we need to make sure that we use slide sheets correctly.
The other reason we need to use slide sheets is so that we protect our backs or those who are
moving the service user.
So many times, staff use slide sheets incorrectly, lift (their hands off the bed), twist, whoosh the
service user up the bed too fast, work out of sync with each other, Move their arms up the bed
instead of using their body weight to move the service user and stand incorrectly when moving the
service user either up or down.
So much to take in for one very small effective safe and dignified move. Yet getting it wrong can be
so undignified, cause injury to staff and service user.
Getting it right is the way to dignified moving and positioning of people and prevention of injury to
staff and service users.
Secondly, we need to look at what slide sheet for what person…
As I stated at the beginning of this Blog, there are so many slide sheets. At times it seems like one
size fits all…however that is not the case.
There are full length sheets, Bariatric Sheets, sliding back in the wheelchair sheets, Wendylett
sheets, getting out of the bed sheets, sliding back on to the bed sheets, one way, two-way, four way
sheets. There are even sheets to hoist your service user onto their side using a hoist sheet!
The best thing to do is involve your Occupation Therapist to find out which one is the best sheet for
what you need to do. Also doing your own research can help as there are so many to help assist
people to move effectively, independently and with little effort from the staff.
Lastly…What else can I do with a slide sheet!
Well, its not just about sliding people up and down and on to their lateral sides, we can also use
them to put slings on, in bed and in the chair. We can put slide sheets underneath legs of the service
user so that we can pull the leg straps of the sling under in a comfortable manner. We can use slide
sheets to move people out of difficult areas if they have had a fall and we cannot access them.
Using slide sheets needs to become a part of daily use when we are working with people with
Changing habits, having the correct equipment and having the know how will make practice safer
and more dignified for all.