Medical positions refer to the various standard patient positions in a hospital bed as determined by specific medical conditions, preferences, procedures and treatments. Positioning a patient in medical situations is more than achieving patient comfort as these positions can have direct and substantial impacts on their health and recovery. Care must be given when positioning and repositioning patients as poor alignments may cause undesired side effects such as sores or other injuries. Assistive devices such as pillows, blankets, and rolls can help achieve desirable levels of comfort and safety per medical position.
The Semi-Fowler’s position is an inclined medical position where the patient is on their back at a bed angle between 30°-45°. Used for similar Fowler’s position purposes that include lung expansion and feeding, the Semi-Fowler’s position is uniquely preferred during childbirth to improve the comfort of the mother. The foot of the bed can also be raised to assist in bending the legs if needed.
The High Fowler’s position is an upright medical position where the patient sits elevated with head and upper body raised at an angle between 60°-90° in relation to the lower body. The knees of the patient may be bent or straight depending on comfort and need. The High Fowler’s position is commonly used for feeding the patient, improved breathing, for radiology, grooming, and other circumstances that require an upright posture.
Supine position is a medical position where the patient lays horizontally with face and body facing upwards at a 0° angle of incline. One of the most common medical positions, the supine position is typically used for surgery, while also being useful for treating irregular blood circulation, relaxing the abdomen, and for performing head and neck procedures. Pillows can be used for comfortably resting the head while keeping the neck in a neutral posture. Arms should be placed along the sides or bent towards the center of the body at a 90° angle.
The Fowler’s position is a semi-upright medical position where the patient sits with their upper body raised at an angle between 45°-60° in relation to the lower body. The patient’s knees may be straight, bent, or elevated as needed. Named after George Ryerson Fowler, the Fowler’s position is most often used to promote respiration and oxygenation through the expansion of the chest. Fowler’s position can also be used to alleviate abdominal tension, for improved drainage, and for improved comfort while eating.