How to Use a Bedpan

How Use a Bedpan

In our article on bedpans, we explain what a bedpan is and who might need one.

In this article, we’ll cover proper bedpan usage. At first glance it might seem like an excessive number of steps, but each is important to ensure patient comfort, safety, and sanitation. With a little practice the process can be completed in 10 to 15 minutes.

Please note that this is only intended as a general guide. You may need special help or training depending on your particular situation.

Placing the Bedpan Under the Patient

  • Wash your hands before entering the patient’s room
  • Close the door behind you so that the patient has privacy
  • Greet the patient and offer assistance with using the bedpan
  • Ask the patient if he or she can tolerate lying flat
  • Lower the head of the bed so the patient is lying flat
  • Put on latex gloves
  • Raise the entire bed to a comfortable height and you won’t need to do as much bending
  • Lift the patient’s gown and ask the patient to roll to one side, away from you
  • Use the draw sheet to assist the patient in rolling over if needed
  • Place the bedpan under the patient, pushing it down to slide under the buttocks
  • Assist the patient to roll onto the bedpan
  • Make sure that the bedpan is centered under the patient’s body
  • Raise the side rail to prevent the patient from rolling off the bed
  • Raise the head portion of the bed so the patient is in a comfortable sitting position
  • Lower the bed back down and recover the patient with a blanket
  • Give the patient some wipes or toilet paper in case it’s needed
  • Remove your latex gloves and leave the room for a few minutes
  • Wash your hands

Removing the Bedpan

  • Upon re-entering the room, raise the bed to a comfortable level
  • Lower the head of the bed slightly
  • Put on clean rubber gloves
  • Uncover the patient
  • Ask the patient to roll over
  • Keep a firm hold of the bedpan, so that it doesn’t flip as the patient turns
  • Assist the patient to roll with one hand and hold the bedpan with the other hand
  • Using wipes, wash the perinatal and anal areas from front to back
  • Remove the bedpan
  • Remove your rubber gloves and dispose of them
  • Assist the patient to lie on the back and adjust the bed to a comfortable position

Final Steps

  • Put on another pair of latex gloves
  • Measure contents before disposing of them if required
  • Chart measurements per the physician’s instructions
  • Clean the bedpan using a toilet sprayer
  • Wash your hands again

Sanitation Prevents Bacterial Spreading

Practicing safe sanitation is an important part of administering use of the bedpan. Wearing latex gloves and changing them during specific steps in the bedpan process, along with washing your hands, reduces the risk of spreading bacteria to the patients and health professionals.

Additional Resources Bedpan Usage Guide

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