8.8 Skills Checklist: Positioning Supine to Lateral (Side-Lying)

1. Gather Supplies: Four pillows

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:

    • Position the bed flat.
    • Raise the bed height.
    • Raise the side rail on the side of the bed the resident will be facing after repositioning for safety.
    • Move to the working side of the bed, which is opposite the side rail that was raised.
    • Explain to the resident that you will move them closer to you before turning on the count of three.
    • From the working side of the bed using the lift sheet, count to three and move the resident towards you.
    • Instruct the resident to move their arm closest to the raised side rail away from their body. If able, the resident should grasp the side rail with the hand closest to you, reaching across their own body.
    • Raise the resident’s knee that is closest to you to assist in turning.
    • Explain that you will turn the resident towards the side rail on the count of three.
    • Count to three and use the lift sheet to turn the resident towards the raised side rail.
    • Ensure that the resident’s face never comes close to the side rail or becomes covered by the pillow.
    • Check that the resident is not lying on their bottom arm.
    • Place a pillow behind the resident’s back, ensuring they will not roll back to the supine position.
    • Move to the end of the bed and check that the resident is in correct body alignment.
    • Verify that the resident is in the middle of the bed.
    • Place a pillow between the resident’s top arm and their rib cage or the bed, ensuring the elbow is not directly on their ribs.
    • Place a pillow under the top knee, ensuring the knee is not resting directly on the other knee or the ankle is not on top of the other ankle.
    • Adjust the pillow under the resident’s head for comfort.

4. Post-Procedure Steps:

    • 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.
    • Document repositioning and report any abnormal skin findings to the nurse.

View a YouTube video[1] of an instructor demonstration of positioning from the supine to lateral side-lying position:


  1. Chippewa Valley Technical College. (2022, December 3). Positioning a Client from the Supine to the Lateral (Side-Lying) Position. [Video]. YouTube. Video licensed under CC BY 4.0https://youtu.be/kIw9IhPhsBA


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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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