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Use of a slide sheet - moving a person side-to-side - SWI 002 2013


This information is a guide only for use by non-government organisations and service providers as a training tool (supplementary to training) and is not intended as medical or professional advice. Users must seek appropriate medical or professional service. The State Government of South Australia accepts no responsibility for the suitability or completeness of the information and expressly disclaims all liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any of the information.

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Stop, Think, Assess, Review

Stop before you begin, you must review the support plan of the client being assisted.

Think about the task, any equipment needed and the readiness of the client. Think about other options if this task cannot be done safely.

Assess the client by watching/talking to them to see if they are willing and able to participate in the task.

Review other options available if client not ready for task. Talk to supervisor/manager about other options.

Potential hazards

  1. Muscular or soft-tissue injury to client from incorrect handling, movement or posture.
  2. Cross-infection to client from using another client's slide sheet.
  3. Muscular, soft-tissue or skeletal injury to workers from incorrect movement, posture, over-reaching or lifting the weight of the client.

Safety provisions

To prevent risk of injury to workers or clients during this manual task:

a. Follow all steps of this Safe Work Instruction (SWI).
b. Minimum of 2 workers for this task.
c. Be aware of movements during task, do not exceed your ability.
d. Communicate with client and other workers at every step of this task.


Set up

  1. Refer to client's Support Plan for specific information.
  2. Ensure client handling is done with flat open hands (not grasping with opposing thumb and fingers).
  3. Make sure client's slide sheet is clean and in good condition.
  4. If bed has brakes, check these are on.
  5. Ensure client's bed is at a height to safely complete this task, avoid excessive leaning or stretching. Set bed height at the wrist of the tallest worker performing the task.


  1. Assist client to roll to side.
  • One worker on each side of the bed, unless otherwise indicated in client's support plan.
  • Refer to SWI for Rolling and Repositioning a Person on how to safely position a client onto their side.
  • Workers position hands, using pushing/pulling motion to gently roll client onto their side.
1. Prepare client's arm for roll

  1. Position slide sheet behind client.
  • Ensure client is in a stable side position, with second worker keeping them steady.
  • First worker places scrolled/folded slide sheet along the back of client, making sure the "open ends" of the sheet face the client.
  • Tuck sheet under client.
2. Put client's leg in position for roll

  1. Roll client onto back and retrieve sheet.
  • Roll client back onto slide sheet.
  • Second worker to slide hand in under client and catch the rolled end of slide sheet at thigh or neck.
  • Second worker pulls the slide sheet through, unrolling and spreading out the sheet.
  • First worker keeps client steady.
3. Staff position hands to commence roll

  1. Position client's legs and take starting stance.
  • Angle and cross client's legs over, placing the leg on top which is nearest the side being moved towards (refer image).
  • Both workers are to stand level between client's shoulders and hips, and adopt a short stride stance.
  • Second worker to grip top sheet only, grasping near the client's hips and shoulders.
4. Roll client onto side

  1. Slide client across.
  • Counting in, second worker rocks back onto leg further away from bed, creating movement of the client on the top sheet.
  • The first worker adds a pushing action at the trunk and hips.
  • Remember to maintain good posture without leaning or twisting, and for movement, use your body, not shoulders.
5. Stabilise client

  1. Roll client into position.
  • Second worker to maintain same grip as in Step 5, on top half of slide sheet and reverse direction to pushing.
  • This will enable client to roll onto opposite side. Do not use shoulders to lift.
  • First worker to stay in place, make sure movement is slow and steady for client.
6. Roll client into position.

  1. Retrieve slide sheet.
  • Ensure client is in a stable side position.
  • With movement complete, most of slide sheet will face first worker, with both halves now open.
  • Second worker to retrieve bottom half of slide sheet by gently removing from under client, pulling corner diagonally away from the client and toward the head of the bed.
  • Replace or raise bed sides if required.
  • Task for moving a client from side-to-side is now complete.


  1. Safely conclude task.
  • Make sure client is safe and comfortable.
  • Place slide sheet in correct storage areas.
  • Document any incident and report to supervisor immediately.

Attribution: Department of Human Services, the Government of South Australia, "Use of a slide sheet - moving a person side-to-side - SWI 002 2013", Sourced on 19th Oct 2021, ('

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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