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Correct positioning is very important and advice can be provided to aid positioning when in the chair or bed.

Positioning is particularly important when:

  • Someone has impaired movement of their muscles and /or sensation
  • Someone has pain or spasms in a certain position
  • Someone is at risk or has developed pressure ulcers
  • Someone has cognitive impairments
  • Someone is restless or feels unsupported
  • Someone receives personal hygiene care in the bed
  • There are issues with swelling in arms and/ or legs


There are many benefits to good positioning. Some of which are highlighted below:

  • It assists with distributing pressure more evenly to help with prevention of pressure areas
  • Prevents over stretching of muscles which can cause pain
  • Avoids muscle shortening
  • Gives the feeling of stability and safety
  • Makes assisting with care needs easier
  • Facilitates the respiratory system
  • Assists with venous return


Pressure care

It is important that you change position regularly throughout the day to reduce the risk of pressure areas. For further information please see attached leaflet.


Below are examples of positioning - please click here for a downloadable PDF

Postural Management Plan: Sitting

Ensure that the person has adequate support around the head/ neck. You may need to use an extra pillow.
Place pillows under the person's arm/ shoulder to help support in the chair.
Ensure that the person's bottom is right back in the chair to prevent them from slipping forward.
The person may need a pillow in between the knees to keep them apart.
Ensure that feet are flat on the floor or supported on a foot rest.

Postural Management Plan: Side lying on non affected side

Place a pillow behind the person to help support side lying position and prevent rolling back.
Place a pillow under affected arm to support whole upper limb.
Place a pillow under the affected leg to help support this in the correct position.

Postural Management Plan: Side lying on affected side

Use 1 or 2 pillows to keep the head comfortable, ensure that the head is not being pushed up too high.
Place a pillow behind the person to help support them in side lying and prevent them from rolling back.
Ensure that the affected shoulder is brought forward slightly so it is not directly underneath the person.
Place a pillow under the arm for comfort.
Place a pillow underneath the front leg.

Postural Management Plan: Sitting in bed

Place pillows in a V shape behind the person's head and shoulders to keep them supported in a sitting position.
Place pillows under the arms to help support upper limbs.
A pillow can be placed under the knees if you are unable to fully straighten them.
Place a pillow or rolled blanket/ towel in between the legs to prevent them from rubbing.

Postural Management Plan: Lying on Back

Place pillows under the head- ensure that the head/ neck are in correct alignment.
Please note the person should be encouraged to sit up where able to help aid the respiratory system.