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Rolling and repositioning a person - SWI 001 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. 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. Be aware of movements during task, do not exceed your ability.
c. Minimum of 2 workers for this task.
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 handling is done with flat open hands (not grasping with opposing thumb and fingers).


  1. Prepare client's arm for roll.1. Prepare client's arm for roll
  • One worker on each side of bed, unless otherwise indicated in client's support plan.
  • If bed has brakes, put these on.
  • Ensure bed height is at wrist height of tallest worker if possible.
  • Worker A places client’s arm across chest.

  1. Put client's leg in position for roll.Put client's leg in position for roll
  • Bring client's leg up by bending it at the knee.
  • Task to be done by first worker, as in Step 1.
  • Ensure handling is done with flat open hands (not grasping with opposing thumb and fingers).

  1. Staff position hands to commence roll.2. Put client's leg in position for roll
  • First worker has hands on client's hip and back of shoulder.
  • Second worker with hands on client's elbow and knee is not required to lean and is in comfortable standing position.

  1. Roll client onto side.3. Staff position hands to commence roll
  • Second worker counts in the task (for example - 1, 2, 3).
  • Workers use combined pushing/pulling motion to gently roll client on to side.
  • First worker does a pushing action, and second worker does gentle pulling action.

  1. Stabilise client.4. Roll client onto side
  • When client on side, workers are to ensure the client is stable and will not roll back. Second worker to reposition hands on hip and upper trunk.
  • Ensure client is in a stable side position.

  1. Reposition client.5. Stabilise client


  1. Safely conclude task.
  • Make sure client is comfortable and in a supported position.
  • Place any equipment in correct storage areas.
  • Document any incident and report to supervisor immediately.

Attribution: Department of Human Services, the Government of South Australia, "Rolling and repositioning a person - SWI 001 2013", Sourced on 24th Jan 2022, ('

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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