Using positioning cushions to assist respiratory problems
Correct positioning in bed can have a very positive effect on a patient with respiratory difficulties. Effective positioning of a patient in bed is important for the relief of pressure to prevent pain and increase user comfort.
However, positioning is often overlooked as an effective way to assist with respiratory problems. With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide on bed positioning for patients with respiratory difficulties. Here is a video with 4 ways of improving respiration with positioning.
Now let’s run through each tip…
Tip 1: correct starting position
Be mindful of the patient’s position in bed before elevating the backrest. Their feet should not touch the footboard and their head should be close to the headboard, otherwise the elevated backrest will compress the patient’s diaphragm making it harder to breathe. Instead, position the patient close to the headboard and use a wedge cushion to bend the knees. This way the backrest will be elevated with a correct flexion and the patient’s hips. The wedge cushion prevents the patient from sliding down as the backrest is elevated. This position opens up the upper airways, as secretion moves to the bottom of the lungs.
Tip 2: recreate the lumbar curve
The 30-degree position can press down on the lumbar curve, compressing the lower parts of the lungs. By placing an oval cushion under the lower back, the lumbar curve is re-established, which further opens up the lower parts of the lungs.
Tip 3: 30-degree side lying position
A small alteration in the side-lying position can improve circulation and ventilate the lungs. Place the wedge cushion with the flat side inwards between the patient’s shoulders and pelvis, then place the rectangular cushion at the patient’s legs and turn or roll the patient back onto the cushions. You can elevate the backrest to further improve the patient’s respiratory function if needed.
Tip 4: 70-degree side lying position
Stabilise the patient on their side, while placing two cushions to create a 70-degree side lying position. Place an upright wedge behind the patient’s back and then a rectangular cushion to support the leg. Extending the leg backwards creates a slight hip extension, facilitating better abdominal respiration. This method effectively ensures good ventilation of the upper lung.
You can get all these cushions in one handy kit complete with carry bag: LEJRELET Bed Positioning Kit
All these positions should assist with better secretion from the lungs and improving ventilation to them to assist with respiratory problems. To find out more, please get in touch on 01473 741144 or at [email protected]
This is a guide only. Clinical decisions should be made by trained professionals.