3.6 Skills Checklist: Making an Occupied Bed

Bed making is a necessary skill for nursing assistants to keep the environment clean, prevent skin breakdown and the spread of infection, and respect the resident’s dignity by providing an orderly environment. Linens should be changed at least weekly or whenever they become soiled.

Follow these infection control guidelines when making beds:

  • Never allow linens to touch your uniform.
  • Do not transfer linens from one room to another.
  • Do not place soiled linens on the floor.
  • If clean linens touch the floor, they should be placed in the soiled laundry for cleaning and not used.
  • Do not shake linens because it can spread airborne pathogens.
  • Store clean linens in a closed closet or a covered cart.

Making an Occupied Bed Checklist

  1. Gather Supplies: Linens
  2. Routine Pre-Procedure Steps:
    • Knock on the client’s door.
    • Perform hand hygiene.
    • Introduce yourself and identify the resident.
    • Maintain respectful, courteous, and professional communication at all times.
    • Provide for privacy.
    • Explain the procedure to the client.

3. Procedure Steps:

    • Place a clean barrier on a flat surface, flip linens over, and place them on the barrier so the fitted sheet is on top.
    • Don gloves.
    • Look for any personal belongings that may have been left in the bed and return them to their proper place.
    • Put the side rail up.
    • Move to the opposite side of the bed.
    • Using the lift sheet, roll the resident towards the side rail.
    • Begin rolling soiled linens to the middle of the bed and under the resident.
    • Remove gloves.
    • Perform hand hygiene.
    • Place a fitted sheet on the half of the bed you are working on.
    • Place the lift sheet and soaker pad in the same manner, fan folding them under the resident.
    • Raise the side rail.
    • Move to the opposite side of the bed.
    • Put on gloves.
    • Lower side rail on working side of the bed.
    • Roll the resident to the opposite side.
    • Remove the soiled linens and place them in a linen bag.
    • Remove gloves.
    • Perform hand hygiene.
    • Pull through the fitted sheet, lift sheet, and soaker pad, ensuring there are no wrinkles.
    • Assist the resident to a supine position.
    • Keeping the resident covered, place a new flat sheet on top of them.
    • Make mitered corners at the foot of the bed by doing the following:
      • Tuck the entire end of the sheet under the foot of the bed.
      • Facing the foot of the bed, create a 45-degree angle from the corner of the bed with the sheet.
      • Place the angled sheet on top of the bed and tuck in anything hanging below the bed frame.
      • Lower the angled sheet over the edge of the bed.
    • Put a clean pillowcase on a new pillow and exchange it for the soiled pillow. Put the pillow at the head of the bed with the open end of the pillowcase faced away from the door. Repeat for multiple pillows.
    • Repeat steps for any blankets or bedspreads.
    • Make a toe pleat (i.e., a pleat in the sheet which allows an individual to move feet) to prevent pressure.

4. Post-Procedure Steps:

    • Perform hand hygiene.
    • Check on resident comfort and ask if anything else is needed.
    • Ensure the bed is low and locked. Check the brakes.
    • Place the call light or signaling device within reach of the resident.
    • Open the door and privacy curtain.
    • Perform hand hygiene.
    • Report abnormal findings to the nurse.

View a YouTube video[1] of a nursing instructor demonstrating making an occupied bed:

  1. Chippewa Valley Technical College. (2022, December 3). Making an Occupied Bed. [Video]. YouTube. Video licensed under CC BY 4.0https://youtu.be/AN9pvC499P4


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Nursing Assistant Copyright © by Chippewa Valley Technical College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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