The nurse is caring for a client who just returned from an above-the-knee amputation of the left leg. Which position should the nurse place the client in?

  1. supine, with the affected limb flat on the bed
  2. supine, with a wedge pillow between the thighs
  3. supine, with the affected limb elevated on a pillow
  4. on the left side with the head of the bed at 30 degrees
Number 3 is correct.
Rationale: The affected limb is elevated to decrease edema and promote venous return for the first 24 hours. After this time, the client is normally positioned supine with the affected limb flat on the bed to prevent hip contracture. Wedging a pillow between the thighs causes abduction at the hips and can cause contracture. The client would not be placed on the left side due to increased pressure on the operative site, which could cause bleeding and impede blood flow.