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10 tips for safe slide sheet use

10 tips for safe slide sheet use

Safe slide sheet use is extremely important in manual handling, as it reduces the risk of injury to both the carer and the patient.

Last year, we were fortunate enough to work with manual handling professionals, Lois and Yvonne. They are community manual handlers, who visit a variety of patients and cater to their specific needs. This could be moving them in their bed, personal care, moving patients to a sitting position, and more.

Using a slide sheet is an effective way to reduce the risk of injury for the mover, and ensure that the patient is safe and comfortable. However, using them incorrectly can lead to harm. We share the 10 top tips for safe slide sheet use we learned from our time with professional manual handlers.


1. Know your patient

This is particularly important for those who work with different patients every day. Taking the time to understand your patients needs and capabilities will ensure a safer move, as well as develop a better relationship. Something as simple as knowing the way a patient prefers to interact and be spoken to, helps foster a more relaxed environment.

Make sure you know of any issues and injuries prior to moving the patient, to reduce the risk of further injury to them, and yourself.

2. Check your slide sheets

It is easy to assume your slide sheets and other equipment are in good condition, but this may not always be the case. To perform a safe movement, your slide sheets need to be in good working order.

There is a chance that your slide sheets have been damaged or snagged in transit. Have a thorough look and feel of your equipment before proceeding with a move.

3. Check your space

Make sure you have the adequate space around your working area, such as around a bed, chair, or wheelchair. Look around for potential trip hazards such as wires, clutter or other equipment.

Take a look at the surrounding area, as well as your immediate area. This tip is particularly important if you are working in an unfamiliar environment.

4. Assess your confidence

Even the most experienced professionals could benefit from a confidence assessment. Take time to think about your abilities in each situation, as all patients and movements are different.

Decide whether you feel confident enough to move a patient, this is especially important if you are alone. Don’t be afraid to ask a colleague for help or advice if they are around.

5. Check on the patient throughout

Keeping an eye on your patient during the move is vital. This includes checking how they are feeling, how they look, and their position. Regular checking ensures the patient is less likely to accidently move into a position that could injure them, or you.

Even though movements can sometimes happen quickly, it is still important to check on the patient where possible throughout the whole process.

6. Prepare your kit

Preparing for any situation makes you feel more at ease, and reduces the likelihood of delays and complications. A great patient handling kit has a variety of slide sheet types for different movements, as well as any additional equipment that could be useful.

This might be things like different types of slide sheets, extension straps, and wedge pillows. A well-rounded kit is ideal for community manual handling as you will see a variety of different patients daily.

7. Consider the patients comfort

Before a movement takes place, make sure the patient is starting in a comfortable position. They may have slipped, moved or not feel ready for a movement in bed or onto a chair.

Take a small amount of time to verbally and physically check in with their level of comfort before proceeding to a manual handling movement.

8. Utilise your equipment

The equipment you carry is important, and so is the equipment the patient uses to maintain their daily life. For example, if the patient has a moveable bed, utilise this to make the movement easier and safer.

You can change the beds height to your and your patients requirements. It is important to remember that while all patients are unique, so are manual handlers, with different statures, techniques and ways of working.

9. Talk to your patient

Talking to your patient cultivates a positive relationship, and allows them to relaxed around you. A patient who feels at ease is more receptive, and likely to have a smooth movement.

Talking through the movements aids their comfort, and makes them aware of what is going on. Letting a patient know where you will be moving them and when is a simple way to improve their experience.

10. Work to your comfort level

To safely move patients using slide sheets, you need to feel comfortable as the handler. Within guidelines and ensuring compliance, ensure you feel safe and comfortable carrying out movements by doing them to your requirements.

For example, the way you may stand or hold something, may slightly differ to another handler. Consider physical differences and work to your comfort level, never putting the patient or yourself at risk.


Moving and handling products

We supply an extensive range of manual handling products, from slide sheets to accessories. We have created useful product videos to demonstrate safe slide sheet use with the Interweave range of slide sheets.

You can find patient specific and launderable options to suit your needs. Reusable and launderable slide sheets are growing in popularity due to their more sustainable nature. Browse our collection of slide sheets, transfer sheets, multi-movers, and accessories.


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