How to Roll Someone Over in Bed

Moving and handling people in bed who are less able can be somewhat tricky to individuals who are not trained. It’s incredibly important to adopt the correct practices in order to prevent any physical strains on both the individual and the carer.

Rolling someone over in bed is a prime example of how people can get hurt if it’s not done properly, so we’ve put together this guide with our physiotherapist Padraig to help you roll someone over easily and safely. This is a 2-carer scenario that will cover rolling both ways.

Rolling to the Left

Step 1: Make sure the person in bed isn’t too close to the edge, and have a carer stand at either side of the individual, and drop the cotside bumpers (if the bed has them).

Step 2: The individual should turn their head to the left, and put their right arm across their body. The carer stood on the person’s left-hand-side should then lean across and place their hand under the person’s right shoulder.

Step 3: The same carer (on the left-hand side) should use their other hand to slightly bend the person’s right knee. This will give them good leverage to pull from.

Step 4: The carer should then facilitate the roll from the right shoulder and right hip. This should leave the person in bed in a comfortable, secure position on their side.

Step 5: If the person would like to go back on to their back, simply gently roll them back over.


Rolling to the Right

Step 1: Like before, make sure that individual isn’t too close to the edge of the bed and have a carer stand either side of the bed, and drop the cotside bumpers (if there are any).

Step 2: The person laying down should turn their head to the right, and their left arm across their body. The carer stood on the person’s right-hand-side should then lean across and put their hand under the person’s left shoulder.

Step 3: The same carer (the one on the right-hand-side) should then use their other hand to slightly bend the person’s left knee. Again, this will give the carer a strong, secure position to pull from.

Step 4: Gently pull on the individual’s shoulder and hip to facilitate the roll to the right. The person should then be comfortably positioned on their right-hand-side.

Step 5: Just like before, if the person wants to go back to their original position, just gently roll them back over.


These steps may seem simplistic, but they’re incredibly important for facilitating a safe, comfortable roll for the person in bed. This technique also protects the carer from sustaining any injuries when physically moving the individual.

This method is an easy, efficient way of ensuring comfort and safety for all involved – so rolling someone over in bed can be safe and easy for anyone! If you want any further advice on how to roll someone over with just one carer, then this video from Marie Curie is particularly helpful.

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Lucie Hudson
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  1. Lesley Spencer says:

    Hi Lucie,
    I am the physiotherapist at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in South Yorkshire and teach manual handling and postural management to the nurses and support workers on our care team – I hope you don’t mind me pointing out something that is incorrect in the instructions that you have on your website for rolling someone over in bed. They say that you pull on the person’s knee which is actually incorrect. You should always place your hands on the person’s shoulder and HIP (which is how it is demonstrated in the Marie Curie video that you recommend). If the person being moved has abnormal muscle tone, is very weak or has a hip problem, then pulling on their knee could cause pain or further hip problems.
    Kind regards,

    1. Lucie Hudson says:

      Hi Lesley,

      Thanks for your comment and for letting me know my information was wrong – I do apologise! This has now been updated in the blog post. Thanks again for pointing it out, feel free to let me know if you spot any other errors like that!

      Kind Regards,
      Lucie Hudson

  2. Emily Wayre says:

    I hope someone will able to advise me.
    I work in a Sixth form and we’ve recently remodeled our welfare suite. We now have a changing bed that’s attached to the wall. Our manual handling training did not prepare us for this type of rolling however, I feel that quite possibly the same techniques will apply. Would you please be able to advise me on how to safely roll the patient towards the wall as we will no longer be able to have one staff on either side of the bed.

    I look forward to hearing from someone soon.

    Kind regards,

    Emily Wayre

    1. Tristan Hulbert says:

      Hello Emily, many thanks for your comment!

      Does this video help at all please?

      If not, let me know and I will see if our in-house physiotherapist is able to help.

      Many thanks

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