Positioning a stroke patient is important. Learn various ways to do so for rehabilitation and recovery.
Stroke may cause paralysis to one side of the body, making it difficult for a patient to move in bed. Regular changing of positions is important to minimise the patient's risk of skin breakdown, contractures and chest complications. Let us show you how to position a stroke patient safely and comfortably.
If the patient is lying flat on the bed: Use a towel to position the head centrally. A pillow is then placed under the weaker shoulder and arm. Ensure the weaker leg is positioned in a neutral position. You can also use pillows to hold the leg in position.
If the patient is lying on the strong side: Ensure that the patient is well rolled over onto the side. Keep the head well supported and in good alignment. Place a pillow under the weak arm to support it, followed by another pillow under the weak leg.
If the patient is lying on the weak side: Keep the weak arm placed away from the body before turning the patient over. Roll the patient onto the side, allowing the body to rest on the pillows. Slide the weak shoulder forward to avoid excessive pressure over it. Place a pillow between the patient's legs.
If the patient is sitting out on a chair: Check that the patient is not slouched, but sitting well back into the chair. Ensure the patient is not leaning to one side. Place a pillow under the weaker arm to support it. Keep the patient's foot flat on the floor. If the chair is too high for the patient, you can place a foot stool beneath the patient's feet. Keep the weaker leg in neutral position. You can place towels or cushions by the side of the patient's leg to keep it in position. Ensure that the weak arm is well supported when sitting and do ot let the arm drop when the patient moves to prevent injury.
If you are unsure of how to position a stroke patient, please consult a neurological physiotherapist.