Occupational Therapy Advice and Information

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Bed Transfers and getting Dressed:Info Icon

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Problems with Dressing and getting in and out of Bed

Getting up washed and dressed in the morning and undressed into night clothes in the evenings is a basic fundamental task that everyone needs to be able to complete and something that is taken for granted and done without any thought until either we become frail and elderly or we acquire a disability.

Range of movement can be compromised after what appears to be the most straightforward of operations or minor injury and can result in loss of upper limb range of movement in the shoulders, back and arms or in the lower limbs when we can no longer lift our legs to put them in and out of lower garments or on and off the bed.

Long handled equipment can become vital to our everyday lives to enable us to pull on socks and stockings; push feet into shoes; get shirts, cardigans or jackets on or even simply combing our hair. Rope ladders can provide a solution to pulling us up from a lying position to a sitting position because it is fitted to the end of the bed and offers a long arm reach.

More often than not these smaller items of equipment are not available through Local Authority Stores but can either be prescribed through the NHS or privately purchased through a number of mail order catalogues.

Dressing Equipment Suggestions:

  1. Bra Angel – this was designed by an Occupational Therapist and enables a lady to put her bra on and off using only one hand. It is placed around the neck and holds one end of the bra whilst the other end is brought around the body and then fastened. It adjusts to size and type of bra accordingly.
  2. Dressing Stick Deluxe – This has a sturdy wooden handle with 3 different hooks designed to help with various dressing tasks and is ideal to be used for helping with putting on skirts, jackets, shirts, socks or trousers.
  3. Combi-Reacher – this light, robust and versatile reaching aid is ideal for picking up things around the home for those who have problems bending and/or reaching forwards. The four finger trigger action is suitable for those with a limited grip, whilst the 360 degree revolving head avoids the need to rotate the wrist, which may be painful for some Users. There is a clip so that it can be stored on a walking frame, which is useful for when Users move from room to room. It also has an easy-grip shoehorn to help with getting feet into shoes, rubber lined jaws that provide extra grip when lifting things from the floor and a useful magnet.
  4. Button Hooks – These can help maintain independence because the User can secure the button through a large hooked end and pull it through the button hole. There are models that also have a zipper attachment so that the User can secure it to the hook of the zip and pulled up or down on trousers, jackets or skirts.
  5. Long handled Shoehorn – enables the User to put the horn at the back of the shoe and push their foot down into it without having to bend forwards. It is also useful when getting your foot out of the shoe as the fitting can be placed down the back of the shoe to enable the User to lift their foot out.
  6. Sock/Hose Aid – this is manufactured from nylon and terry cloth and holds the hosiery securely while it is pulled over the foot. The longer straps mean that the User doesn’t have to bend forwards to reach down to their feet. The lower friction inner surface ensures a smooth pull over the foot, whilst the higher friction outer surface ensures firm location of the sock or stocking for comfortable dressing.
  7. Elastic Shoe Laces – 3 Pair Pack: These elasticated shoe laces convert lace-up shoes to slip-on ones, which make them ideal for people with poor grip, limited dexterity or for people who have problems bending. Available in black or brown the laces are 23” long.
  8. Long handled Brush and Comb – These are sold separately but both have extra long handles that are easy to grip and ideal for those with restricted arm or shoulder mobility and poor grip. The handles are rubber and slip-resistant. 

Getting in and out of bed is one of the most fundamental tasks that we require to enable us to fully rest, usually at night, and then be able to function during the day.

Difficulties with getting in and out of bed may simply require relooking at the way we carry out the activity and making a few small changes such as turning on our side before pushing up on our elbows and arms to a sitting position. Advice can be given on new techniques either through contacting your GP and requesting some Physiotherapy treatment or by asking for an assessment by an Occupational Therapist. Able 2 OT Services would be happy to visit and advise you on what you could achieve with or without the need for equipment.

Have you tried to alter your transfer techniques and this has not resolved your problems?


For more information of what is the best option for you, get in touch with us.