How to Change Bed Sheets on an Occupied Bed

hands making a bed
What You'll Need
Laundry bag or basket
Clean top and bottom sheet
Clean pillow cover
Fresh flowers and vase

Changing the bed sheets of a bedridden senior or unwell person is a task that becomes easier with time and practice. You may need an assistant until you are confident enough to complete the procedure yourself.

Follow these steps to successfully change bed sheets without moving the aged occupant.

Step 1 – Remove Blanket and Top Sheet

Before you begin, explain to the bedridden person how you mean to change the sheets.

Unfold and spread the clean sheet over a chair or table near by. Gently remove the blankets and any top sheet from the bed, and place them on a chair with the clean sheets if they will be used again. Otherwise, put them in a basket for washing.

Step 2 – Spread Clean Sheet on One Side

Gently roll the occupant to the side away from you. In the beginning it will help if there is someone to assist you, to make it comfortable for the elderly. Loosen the bottom sheet from all sides of the bed where it's tucked under the mattress. Roll it lengthwise towards the middle of the bed, and then as close to the body of the occupant as you can. Make sure the soiled sheet does not touch the occupant but is just next to him.

Step 3 – Roll the Elderly to Clean Side of Bed

Spread and tuck a clean sheet lengthwise on the side of the bed you just cleared and move it next to the soiled sheet and the elderly. Be carefully not to let the clean and dirty sheets touch. Gently roll the elderly person over the soiled sheet and the mound of clean sheet, to get him onto the clean side of the bed.

Step 4 – Remove the Soiled Sheet

Move to the other side of the bed and pull the soiled sheet off. Toss it in the laundry basket or bag you have placed on the floor. Spread the clean sheet towards this side of the bed and tuck it under the mattress. Use your hands to remove any creases or folds on the sheet as you brush it with your hands.

Step 5 – Change the Pillow Cover

Gently pull the pillow from under the occupant’s head. You might want to place one hand under his head as you pull the pillow. Remove the old pillow cover and toss it with the other dirty linen. Place a clean pillow cover on the pillow and fluff it up a bit before placing it in the middle of the bed. Carefully assist the occupant back to the middle of the bed, with the pillow either under his head or supporting his back. Make sure he's comfortable.

Step 6 – Place Blanket on the Bed

Place either the same blanket over the bed, or a fresh one, and tuck both the blanket and a clean top sheet under the mattress at the foot of the bed.

Place a vase with fresh flowers at the edge of the bed or the windowsill to show the elderly your care and respect.