Pulling a Patient Up in Bed

Two healthcare providers moving patient up in hospital bed.Think of ways you can decrease friction to make this move more comfortable for the patient and to reduce the stress on your back. It is easier to slide a patient up in bed by using a draw-sheet and two people.

Step 1. Grasp the draw-sheet

  • Put the head of the bed down and adjust the top of the bed to waist- or hip-level of the shorter person.

  • Grasp the draw-sheet, pointing one foot in the direction you’re moving the patient.

Step 2. Pull up

  • Lean in the direction of the move, using your legs and body weight.

  • On the count of 3, lift and pull the patient up. Repeat this step as many times as needed to position the patient. Lift with your legs.

  • Also, patients can bend their knees, push down with their feet, and pull up with a trapeze (a device overhead) to help.


  • Putting a pillow under your patients’ feet helps them push down, making it easier for you to pull them up.

  • Never clasp the underarm to move the patient. This may cause injury to the shoulder (for example, dislocation).

  • Do not try to stand by the head of the bed and pull the patient up.

  • If the patient weighs over 200 pounds, consider a different technique (assistive devices or an additional person).

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered by Krames Patient Education - A Product of StayWell