How to Use a BedPan (For Caregivers & Self Use)

Bedpan or urinals are not something new in terms of helping a male or female use the bathroom while lying in bed or even a wheelchair.  These types of devices help to comfort those who may be bedridden, post opt,  or are recovering from an injury.   A lot of caretakers use it to ease their work when dealing with a patient that has issues getting out of bed.   This is why we are going to provide all the necessary information regarding bedpans and urinals and how to use them. 

Bedpans are a lifesaver for those that cannot freely get up to use the restroom because it provides a way for anyone to relieve themselves while in a sitting or even laying down position.  Here is how to use a bedpan. 

What is a bedpan?

Bedpans are devices that are used to help anyone who cannot get to the toilet because of old age, post-surgery, or any other condition as a way to relieve themselves from a bed, chair, or wheelchair.   These bedpans can be made from high-density smooth plastics or even stainless steel.   Bedpans can be used while in the laydown position or by squatting over them if possible.  They are lightweight, hold liquid easily, and are easy to clean.   Check out some of the best bedpans and urinals from our review. 

Types of Bedpans

There are a few different types of bedpans and each have there own specific use.  They are as follows:

  • Conventional bedpan:  This type of bedpan is your standard pan and generally is built to withstand weights over around 250 pounds.  They are comfortable to use and are designed to sit on. Typically these are made from polypropylene plastics or stainless.
  • Bariatric bedpans: These bedpans are designed to withstand much higher weights and in fact, some can withstand weights of 1200 pounds.  These are designed from heavy-duty plastics and can hold more fluids than a smaller or standard bedpan.   The major difference between a conventional bedpan and a bariatric Bedband is simply the size and weight capacity. 
  • Fracture bedpans: Fracture type bedpans are used to slide under a patient while in the sitting or lying down position.  These types of bedpans have a tapered end that allows for easier placement for those who cannot get up.  These types of bedpans also work excellent for females as a urinal.

What items should you have before you use a bedpan?

There are some things you should have on hand before using a bedpan to make things easier.  Fore caregivers have the following available if possible:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Toilet paper
  • Towel
  • Basin with warm water
  • Wipes.

Stainless steel bed pans can be very cold
Stainless steel bedpans can be very cold and uncomfortable when touched bareskind. In order to warm up the bedpan you should take some warm water and rinse the bedpan before letting your patient or loved one use it. Warm water will quickly bring up the temp of the cold steel.

Stainless steel bedpans can be very cold

Stainless steel bedpans can be very cold and uncomfortable when touched bare skin. In order to warm up the bedpan, you should take some warm water and rinse the bedpan before letting your patient or loved one use it. Warm water will quickly bring up the temperature of the cold steel.

Helping someone use a bedpan

You should start the process by explaining to the patient or loved one and explain to them that you are going to help them use the bedpan.  The process of how to help someone use a bedpan will work like so: 

  1.  Explain to the patient or loved one they can be calm and you know what to do in order to make the process smooth as possible. 
  2.  Wash your hands thoroughly and then put on gloves. 
  3.  Allow the loved one or patient privacy by shutting any blinds or if sharing a room use curtains to close the person in so they are as private as possible.
  4.  If possible protect the sheets:  If you have a waterproof protector you should put them down so the patient or loved one will be laid onto the protected sheet.  This sheet should go beneath the person’s buttocks area.  Cover the protector with a clean bath towel so the person is laying not the towel and not the protected cover. 
  5. Bedpans can be cooled so warm them up.  Warm up the bedpan by placing it in the sink with warm water.  Then dry off the bedpan.
  6. Use talcum powder: The powder will make sliding the bedpan under the patient easier and more comfortable. 
  7. Place a few squares of toilet paper in the bottom of the bedpan.
  8. Have the patient remove his or her bottoms now that everything is ready.   If a gown is warm and it is open at the back there is no need to take off the bottoms. 
  9. have the loved one or patient lie on their back.  Knees should be bent with feet laying flat on the mattress. 
  10. Place the bedpan next to the loved one or patient.    This should be as close to the patient as possible. 
  11. Have the patient move away from the bedpan.  If the loved one can lift his or her hips then you can have them raise their hips on a count of three.   If the patient cannot lift their hips you will need to turn the patient so the side is not facing you.  Be sure to watch the patient does not roll off the bed or onto their stomach. 
  12.  Now,  place the bedpan under the loved ones’ buttocks with the curved edge of the pan facing the back of the patient or loved one.   If the person can lift their hips you will ask them to ease down on the bedpan.  IF they cannot lift their hips then you will have to slide the bedpan directly next to the loved ones’ buttocks and then gently roll him or her back and over the bedpan. 
  13. Make sure the person is comfortable and provide toilet paper 
  14. Give the person his or her privacy.  Instruct them you will be back in a few minutes to check on them.
  15. Once done, wash your hands and reapply new gloves.
  16. Bring warm water, toilet paper clothes.
  17. Help assist the patient by removing the bedpan the same way you assisted in getting the bedpan under them.  Reverse the steps.  
  18. Clean the patient.  You will have to determine if the patient can clean themselves or if you will have to assist.  If you have to assist do so.
  19. Once the patient is clean you can then remove the covering and towel.
  20. Once the patient or loved one is comfortable it is time to clean the bedpan for the next use. 

Male urinals

These pieces of equipment are excellent for males that need a way to urinate and cannot make it to the bathroom from a bed or chair.  These types of products can be used either lying down or sitting upright from a wheelchair or regular chair or recliner

These types of devices are often preferred over a bedpan when urination is the only thing that taken place.  These bottles are designed so they do not leak or spill and even can hold in odor.

Female Urinals

Female urinals while very effective might not be as popular as bedpans when it comes to a woman’s choice on what to use.  Although female urinals have great designs that eliminate spills because of proper and wider openings with the proper angle that fits a woman’s body very securely.   These types of aids are extremely helpful for women who find it difficult to get out of bed or a chair because of old age, post-surgery, or from an injury and are recovering. 

Our final thoughts on using a bedpan

Bedpans are vital pieces of equipment that are essential for anyone male or female that cannot get to a bathroom because of old age, surgery, or injury.  The ability to have a lightweight and safe device that will allow you to relieve yourself from a seated or laying down position is vital to millions of people each year.

Urinal bottles are also a great tool to have not only for someone that cannot make it to the bathroom because of mobility issues but also for those who go on long road trips and need a way to relieve themselves frequently. 

Regardless of the use bedpans and urinals are vital pieces of equipment caregivers and home users need when they cannot make to the bathroom because of mobility issue. 

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About ASmith

Adam Smith is the main researcher and contributor at Mobility Medical Supply. Adam has many years of research in public data, and software security. With Mobility issues within Adam's family, he decided to dedicate in-depth guides on mobility products to anyone looking to improve movement and gain independence.