Moving and handling

Please be aware - this information is for healthcare professionals

Repositioning your patient regularly can help make them more comfortable. Moving someone may seem like a simple task, but it’s important to do it carefully, plan ahead and take your time.

Your employer is required to provide moving and handling training that fits within your local policies and procedures. You should complete available training before reading this document.

Before you move the patient, you should consider:

  • whether there are any obstacles such as chairs or cables that you need to move
  • whether there any resting points you can stop at if either you or the patient is tired or in pain
  • whether the person is strong or well enough to be moved
  • whether you require any equipment or help from another colleague or carer (if the patient has one)

It’s important to note that your training should include directions specific to providing palliative and end of life care. This will include instructions about working on your own, moving an unconscious patient and how to use relevant equipment. 

Your patient’s district nurse should have done a risk assessment for moving and handling as part of the care plan. This should be reviewed and updated regularly. Contact the district nurse if this has not been done, if the patient’s condition changes or if you have any other concerns.

You can contact a community physiotherapist or occupational therapist if you need further support, such as advice on additional equipment.

We also have videos on moving someone in bed and supporting a person to stand and walk that provide information that could be useful for the patient’s family and friends.

Who else should I talk to?

  • A community physiotherapist
  • A community occupational therapist

Points to remember

  • Make sure the person is free from pain before moving and handling, and that you have gained their consent if possible.
  • There are specific instructions on moving and handling when your patient or client is at the end of their life.
  • Make sure you have completed the training provided by your employer, which fits within your local policy and procedures.
  • Do not attempt to move anyone if you are concerned that it is not safe to do so.
  • Remember the basics. For example, using appropriate equipment such a slide sheet and current documentation for safe practice.

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