Benefits of a log roll in providing patient care

Patients who have suffered spinal injuries or other complex care scenarios that require immobilisation are at risk of further complications if they are not routinely checked. The log roll is the most effective method of turning a patient in order to undertake an assessment.

Why do patients need checks?

SCI patients are at high risk of developing pressure ulcers during immobilisation. This can be prevented by carrying out a routine turning schedule, which reduces pressure build up in any particular area. They can still develop on the skin but early treatment can be extremely effective at eliminating the problem.

Regular assessments of a patient’s skin for early signs of pressure ulcers should be carried out. One of the initial signs is skin discolouration. This can be detected through an assessment of the patients’ back during the log roll procedure. The patient can then be placed in a position that avoids putting pressure on this specific area. If the bed sores are treated quickly, it will be more effective, thus reducing discomfort for the patient.

The log roll process is also used to maintain the hygiene of an immobilised patient. Once in position, the nurse can carry out a back wash, sheet change or bowel care.

benefits of a log roll is someone can check and wash patient

The benefits of a log roll is that the patient can be safely turned so a nurse can analyse as well as wash and clean a patient.

Spinal alignment and the benefits of a log roll

It is imperative in patients with a spinal injury that spinal alignment is maintained throughout any turning motions. This prevents further complications from developing, which could increase a patient’s stay in hospital. Inappropriate turns or incorrect manual handling could cause additional damage to the spinal cord and impacts on a patient’s rehabilitation.

The log roll is routinely used in these circumstances as it is generally a safe and comfortable procedure for both the patient and the nursing team. The patient can be easily turned and held in place by the staff and an assessment of their back for cleanliness and pressure ulcers quickly and effectively carried out.

An example of a log roll, turning the patient to 90 degrees.

An example of a log roll, turning the patient to 90 degrees.

Using a mechanised bed

A log roll can be undertaken manually. This puts additional pressure on the nursing team and increases the risk of injury to staff and further damage to the patient. The use of a mechanically assisted bed in these circumstances provides more support for the nursing team. It should not be used as a reason to reduce the number of staff in attendance and there should still be at least five nurses present. The bed does though provide assistance for the nursing team carrying out the turn and makes the process smoother for the patient as well as more efficient for the nurses.

log roll performed on mechanised turning bed

An example of a log roll being performed on a mechanised bed.

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