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Moving Patients from Bed to Stretcher (Gurney)

Remember: If you move a patient’s legs first, you can decrease the stress on your back by as much as a third.

Patient safety is often the main concern when moving patients from bed. But remember not to lift at the expense of your own back. And, never move a patient by yourself. Two people usually can do this move safely. The leader, who pulls, should be the stronger of the 2. The helper holds the draw-sheet, neither pushing nor lifting.

Moving patient
The leader should have one foot forward with knees bent.


Prepare to Move

  • Put the head of the bed down and adjust the bed height.

  • Put a garbage bag or plastic slide board between the sheet and draw-sheet, beneath one edge of the patient’s torso.

  • Move the patient’s legs closer to the edge of the bed.

  • Instruct the patient to cross his or her arms across his or her chest, and explain the move to the patient.


Pull to Edge of Bed

  • Grasp the draw-sheet on both sides of the bed.

  • On the count of 3, lean back and shift your weight, sliding the patient to the edge of the bed. The helper holds the sheet, keeping it from slipping.

Moving patient


Position Stretcher

  • Have the helper “cradle” the patient in the draw-sheet while you retrieve a stretcher.

  • Adjust the bed to be slightly higher than the stretcher. Then, position the stretcher, locking it in place.

  • Move the patient’s legs onto the stretcher.


Slide onto Stretcher

  • Have the helper kneel on the bed, holding on to the draw-sheet.

  • On the count of 3, grasp the draw-sheet and slide the patient onto the stretcher. You may need to repeat this step.

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