Getting out of bed with a pelvic fracture can be extremely painful and difficult.
The easiest way to get out of bed after a pelvic fracture is by rolling to the unaffected side and using a rail to push up.
But in most cases, a recliner chair is preferred for the first few weeks.
In this article, I’ll share a few ways to make it easier to get out of bed with a pelvic fracture and how to make it safe.
Disclaimer: The tips below are recommended for people without weight bearing restrictions. Before attempting these techniques, you should always practice with a licensed therapist.
Getting out of bed with a broken pelvis
The best way to get out of bed with a pelvic fracture is by rolling to the unaffected side. Here are the 3 steps to make it easier.
- Roll to the strong side
- Scoot the hips close to the edge of bed
- Bring both legs off the bed and push up from the bed or side rail.
A bed rail can be a simple way to make this process easier, and you don’t even need a special bed. Some rails can be easy to install and other rails don’t require any installation.
Getting out of bed with assistance
If a second person is helping its best to increase the surface area to the area that needs to be moved. For example, if a patient needs to roll side to side, use a sheet under the patient and pull the sheet rather than the patient’s arms and legs.
I’ll describe this in greater detail in the next section.
This will not only be more comfortable for the patient but also reduce the risk of injury for you and your patient.
The same goes for helping patients get out of bed. Using a pillow under the affected leg will create a greater surface area rather than pulling the legs with your hands.
Using a hospital bed
If you cannot do the steps above, one of the easiest ways to help patients and caregivers is by using a hospital bed.
If possible, raise the bed to the caregiver’s arm level, and position the bed in slight Trendelenburg with the head of the bed raised.
Next, lift one leg at a time by lifting each end of the pillow. Have the patient reach for the bed rail and bring both legs off the bed using both pillows.
Next, use a sheet under the patient and two pillows. The sheet should be placed under the patient from their shoulders to their knees. Pillows should also be placed under both legs. I usually place them below their knees.
If both legs are too heavy, you may need a mechanical lift.
The patient’s legs should be slightly hanging off the bed with their head resting on the bed.
Have them push up from the bed rail as you grab the sheet behind their shoulders to pull them upright. Lower the bed, so their feet are flat on the floor. If they still don’t have their feet on the floor, try to pull them forward by using the sheet under them.
Be careful not to bend during any of these activities to reduce strain on your back. This should also be done with two people for safety.
Now that they’re upright, do a quick test to see if they are able to stand. They should be able to stay balanced and not lean toward one side.
If they’re not feeling dizzy, have them put one hand on the walker and the other hand on the bed or bed rail.
If they can’t stand you, you might want to use a sara stedy. This will also be an easy way to help them transfer to the toilet or wheelchair.
Use a Sara Stedy to stand
If standing is too difficult, a Sara Stedy can make this much easier and safer.
A Sara Stedy is a much more sturdy device for standing. It has a sturdy bar to help the client pull to stand, and it has a seat built in so they can be wheeled to a wheelchair or toilet.
A Sara Stedy is a simple and easily solution to help someone who is unable to stand or walk.
The benefits of a recliner
A recliner can make all the difference for someone recovering from rib fractures. It may not be the most comfortable for every patient, but it completely eliminates the problem of getting out of bed from a flat position.
With a recliner, the patient only needs to be able to stand from a seated position. Some recliners can be difficult to get out of, but other recliners have a lift feature to make standing easier, and some will lay flat like a bed.
They’re also much less expensive than hospital beds, but I wouldn’t recommend them to patients who are unable to stand.
Using a mechanical lift
A mechanical lift can be useful for caregivers who are unable to safely assist patients out of bed or for patients who require assistance from two or more people.
A mechanical lift can be expensive, but it may be worth the expense to reduce the cost of injuring the caregiver.
Using the toilet
There are many ways to make toileting easier after a pelvic fracture. Be sure to read my other article about it here.
Reducing pain after a fractured pelvis may seem like a never-ending battle, but getting out of bed more frequently and sitting upright can make a difference in the long run.
Here are a few tips to help with pain.
- Use ice on the rips for for 20 min or until numb
- Wear an abdominal binder for comfort
- Take pain meds as indicated by your physician
Getting out of bed with a broken pelvis can be a real challenge. Using the right equipment can be helpful and reduce pain. Here are a few summary points.
- Roll to the strong side with the hips close to the edge
- Increase surface area to make bed mobility less painful and easier to position
- Consider a power lift recliner
- Use a mechanical lift if mobilizing the patient is unsafe
I hope this was helpful. subscribe below to learn more occupational therapy tips.
David is the lead editor of OT Focus. He has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since 2013. He specializes in acute care, hand therapy, and ergonomics.