Guideline Implementation: Positioning the Patient

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Abstract

Every surgical procedure requires positioning the patient; however, all surgical positions are associated with the potential for the patient to experience a positioning injury. The locations and types of potential injuries (eg, stretching, compression, pressure injury) depend on the position. Factors that may increase the patient’s risk for an injury are the length of the procedure and risk factors inherent to the patient (eg, weight, age, frailty). AORN’s updated “Guideline for positioning the patient” provides guidance on injury prevention practices for all surgical positions including supine, Trendelenburg, reverse Trendelenburg, lateral, lithotomy, prone, and sitting positions and modifications of these positions. This article focuses on the key points of the guideline covering the use of prophylactic dressings, neurophysiological monitoring, and safely positioning the patient in the supine and prone positions. Perioperative RNs should review the complete guideline for additional information and for guidance when writing and updating policies and procedures.

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