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How to assist patients in using the bedpan?

A bedpan is a container used by bedridden patients for passing urine or feces. In such cases when patients are incapable of standing, sitting or walking, a nurse usually assists them in using the bedpan. It is important to provide proper help and assistance to the patients going through such a condition to avoid uneasiness and embarrassment for them.

Points to Be Considered While Using the Bedpan

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and lukewarm water, before and after the entire procedure, to avoid the spread of infection.
  • Make the patients comfortable so that they do not feel uneasy. Assure them that you are there to help them.
  • Always wear gloves before starting the entire procedure.


Instructions on How to Help Patients in Using the Bedpan

  • Wear gloves before getting in touch with the patients.
  • Assist the patient lay down in supine position over the bed (Facing up towards the ceiling, back on the bed).
  • Make them shift towards one side while lying down.
  • Place the bedpan (made of stainless steel / plastic) right below the buttocks of the patient, after they lie down on their side.
  • Thereafter, help the patient come back in original supine position and make them feel comfortable.
  • According to the comfort of the patient, adjust the position of the bed.
  • Go aside to give them sufficient privacy.
  • After the patient is done, adjust the altitude of the bed again and raise it a little.
  • Assist the patient shift on one of their sides and gently remove the bedpan.
  • This has to be done with caution because even the slightest carelessness can spill the contents of the bedpan over the bed and the entire linen sheet will have to be changed.
  • Remove and dispose of the gloves.
  • Wash the patient’s buttocks and genitals properly with lukewarm water and use sterilized towel to dry them.
  • Wash your hands properly with antiseptic soap and lukewarm water and dry them.
  • Wear new set of gloves.
  • Provide wet sterilized towel to patients for cleaning their hands.
  • Adjust the raised bed back to the original position, according to the comfort of the patient.
  • Record the output of the patient carefully.
  • Dispose of the contents of bedpan and clean it for the next use.
  • Dispose of your gloves and wash your hands again with antiseptic soap and lukewarm water and dry them with a clean towel.

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Expert’s Advice

This is the most difficult skill to demonstrate in front of the examiner. Follow these tips to secure good marks:

  • If the patient is aged, ensure that you use bedpan very gently as in old age the skin becomes very fragile and random use of bedpan may lead to rashes and skin breakdown.
  • While removing the bedpan you have to be equally careful as random removal of bedpan may lead to spilling of the contents. You will be required to remove the patient and change the bed linen, and above all this entire mess will lead to loss of marks and you may fail.
  • Never get irritated if any patient refuses to use the bedpan. You are required to deal with them politely and respectfully. If patients ask you to take them to toilet, you will have to do it.