How to Use a Bed Pan


There are times when a patient is unable to get out of a bed because of a medical condition such as surgery, broken bones, illness and other issues that affect mobility. When a patient is confined to his bed, the caregiver must respond to his toileting needs quickly with a bedpan. This device allows the patient to urinate or to have a bowel movement. Using a bedpan can help prevent other health complications, such as constipation. These tips will ensure that you know how to use a bedpan properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Bedpan
  • Towels
  • Baby powder
  • Absorbent waterproof pad
  • Washcloth

Lay supplies such as washcloths, toilet paper, towels, basin of warm water and disposable gloves nearby.

Allow the bedpan to heat up by running warm water over it. Because a metal bedpan retains heat, always check to see if it is slightly warm but not too hot before your patient uses it. Dry thoroughly. A warm bedpan will help the patient relax and feel comfortable enough to do his bodily functions.

Sprinkle a small amount of baby powder on the sides of the pan. Baby powder will help the bedpan easily slide underneath the patient. Slip on your disposable gloves.

Prepare the bed by sliding an absorbent waterproof pad underneath the patient’s buttocks to keep the bed clean.

Raise the head of the bed slightly so that your patient doesn’t get dizzy before sitting up.

Support your patient’s lower back with one hand while he lifts his buttocks. Place the curved edge of the metal bedpan under the patient’s buttocks with your opposite hand.

Lift up the head of the bed slowly until your patient can sit up so he will feel comfortable enough to have a bowel movement or to urinate.

Unless he feels too weak, walk out of the room so your patient can have some privacy.

Lower the head of the bed when your patient has finished using the bedpan. Tell the patient to lift his buttocks. Use one hand to support the patient’s lower back. Carefully remove the bedpan with your opposite hand so you do not spill its contents. Put a towel over the bedpan and lay it on a chair. Do not place it on the bed table.

Roll the patient on his side and gently clean him with toilet paper. Use a damp wash cloth with soap to clean the patient’s buttocks if necessary. Dry the area between the legs of your patient thoroughly.

Hand your patient a damp washcloth so he can sanitize his hands when he is finished.

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