Nursing In Ghana




Fowler’s position is a bed position wherein the head and trunk are raised 40 to 90 degrees.

Fowler’s position is used for people who have difficulty breathing because in this position, gravity pulls the diaphragm downward allowing greater chest and lung expansion.

In low Fowler’s or semi-Fowler’s position, the head and trunk are raised to 15 to 45 degrees; in high Fowler’s, the head and trunk are raised 90 degrees.

This position is useful for patients who have cardiac, respiratory, or neurological problems and is often optimal for patients who have nasogastric tube in place.

Using a footboard is recommended to keep the patient’s feet in proper alignment and to help prevent foot drop.

Orthopneic or Tripod

Orthopneic or tripod position places the patients in a sitting position or on the side of the bed with an overbed table in front to lean on and several pillows on the table to rest on.

Patients who are having difficulty breathing are often placed in this position since it allows maximum expansion of the chest.

Dorsal Recumbent

In dorsal recumbent or back-lying position, the client’s head and shoulders are slightly elevated on a small pillow.

This position provides comfort and facilitates healing following certain surgeries and anesthetics.

Supine or Dorsal position

Supine is a back-lying position similar to dorsal recumbent, but the head and shoulders are not elevated.

Just like dorsal recumbent, supine position provides comfort in general for patients recover after some types of surgery.


In prone position, the patient lies on the abdomen with head turned to one side; the hips are not flexed.

This is the only bed position that allows full extension of the hip and knee joints.

Prone position also promotes drainage from the mouth and useful for clients who are unconscious or those recover from surgery of the mouth or throat.

Prone position should only be used when the client’s back is correctly aligned, and only for people with no evidence of spinal abnormalities.

To support a patient lying in prone, place a pillow under the head and a small pillow or a towel roll under the abdomen.

Lateral position

In lateral or side-lying position, the patient lies on one side of the body with the top leg in front of the bottom leg and the hip and knee flexed.

Flexing the top hip and knee and placing this leg in front of the body creates a wider, triangular base of support and achieves greater stability.

The greater the flexion of the top hip and knee, the greater the stability and balance in this position. This flexion reduces lordosis and promotes good back alignment.

Lateral position helps relieve pressure on the sacrum and heels in people who sit for much of the day or confined to bed rest in Fowler’s or dorsal recumbent.

In this position, most of the body weight is distributed to the lateral aspect of the lower scapula, the lateral aspect of the ilium, and the greater trochanter of the femur.

Sims’ Position

Sims’ is a semi-prone position where the patient assumes a posture halfway between the lateral and prone positions. The lower arm is positioned behind the client, and the upper arm is flexed at the shoulder and the elbow. Both legs are flexed in front of the client. The upper leg is more acutely flexed at both the hip and the knee, than is the lower one.

Sims’ may be used for unconscious clients because it facilitates drainage from the mouth and prevents aspiration of fluids.

It is also used for paralyzed clients because it reduces pressure over the sacrum and greater trochanter of the hip.

It is often used for clients receiving enemas and occasionally for clients undergoing examinations or treatments of the perineal area.

Pregnant women may find the Sims position comfortable for sleeping.

Support proper body alignment in Sims’s position by placing a pillow underneath the patient’s head and under the upper arm to prevent internal rotation. Place another pillow between legs.


Trendelenburg’s position involves lowering the head of the bed and raising the foot of the bed of the patient.

Patients who have hypotension can benefit from this position because it promotes venous return.

Reverse Trendelenburg

Reverse Trendelenburg is the opposite of Trendelenburg’s position.

Here the HOB is elevated with the foot of bed down.

This is often a position of choice for patients with gastrointestinal problems as it can help minimize oesophageal reflux.

Source: Nurseslabs

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Jude Arko

Chief Editor - Nursing In Ghana | Mental Health Nurse | Photog | App Developer

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