What Is a Draw Sheet?

T. Broderick

A draw sheet, also known as a lift sheet, is a sheet used in the medical industry to lift immobile patients from their beds. These sheets usually come in two parts: a normal cotton sheet over one made of rubber. A draw sheet, unnoticeable by a prone patient, supports the body from the upper back to mid thigh during lifting. Even though this system still requires two people to lift a patient, the more evenly distributed weight provided by a lift sheet decreases the amount of overall discomfort felt by the patient.

Some hospitals include draw sheets on every bed.
Some hospitals include draw sheets on every bed.

Although a draw sheet can be just a normal cotton bed sheet, many hospitals and other medical institutions such as nursing homes use a bottom layer of rubber to add extra support. This feature assists in the lifting of heavier patients. Adding a layer of rubber also guarantees the sheet will not rip and cause the patient to fall.

A draw sheet is used to lift immobile patients from their beds.
A draw sheet is used to lift immobile patients from their beds.

Draw sheets, along with stretchers and gurneys, fall into the category of medical equipment designed to safely move patients. Unlike the latter two examples, however, a lift sheet is not used in emergency situations where a patient must remain completely immobile. A lift sheet is only used in a controlled medical environment where the patient is stable and under the close care of a physician or other medical personnel.

Lifting a patient with a draw sheet is a relatively simple process. Two individuals stand at opposite sides of the bed and take hold of the sheet near the patient's upper back and thigh. Lifting together, a third person may support the patient's head if the patient is elderly or has trouble breathing. After lifting, they transfer the patient to a new bed or wait until other professionals change the linen on the existing bed. Once the patient is again lying down, the lift sheet can be tucked into the bed or left hanging off the sides until the next move.

Using a draw sheet has important advantages over having one or two people lift a patient with their bare hands. The first advantage is that the sheet reduces the number of pressure points by evenly distributing the patient's weight along the sheet. This method makes a patient less susceptible to bruising or other injuries during lifting. The most important advantage though is that a lift sheet provides the highest degree of safety when moving a stable patient is a hospital setting. For example, individuals lifting the patient do not have to worry that their grip is causing physical harm; the lack of this and other distractions lower the chances of an accident.

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