Helping the Patient use a Bedpan
Mia is on duty as a student nurse at the medical ward. Still on her third year in nursing school, she is aware that she has a long way to go and is determined to learn everything that she has to learn along the way. Thus, she makes sure that she does well in her classes and that she learns at least one new skill after every clinical duty.
Sticking to her goals, she is checking her patient’s chart at the nurse’s station, taking note of the doctor’s most recent orders and checking to see if a new treatment plan is needed when she hears that a nurse is due to help a patient use a bedpan.
A bedpan? I haven’t seen a patient using that before, she immediately thought. A few seconds pass by and before she knows it, she asks the staff nurse if she could accompany her to the patient and observe her while she does the procedure.
I wonder how the nurse will be able to do it. Should the nurse just let the patient do her own thing? Or are there steps to be followed? She continues thinking while following the staff nurse, who is on her way towards the patient’s room.
Steps in giving and removing a bedpan
- Gather your supplies:
- A basin with warm water
- Disposable gloves
- Toilet paper
- Wash cloths or wet wipes
- Run warm water over the bedpan and dry it. A metal bedpan retains heat, so check to make sure it is not too hot before putting it under the person.
- Sprinkle baby powder on the edge of the bedpan to make it easier to slide under the person.
(Helping a person who can raise his buttocks to use a bedpan)
- Put on disposable gloves.
- Place a waterproof pad under the person’s buttocks to protect the bed from spills.
- Raise the head of the bed a little if it is allowed by the healthcare provider.
- Support the lower back of the person with one hand. With your other hand, place the curved edge of the bedpan under the buttocks of the person.
- Raise the head of the bed until the person is in a sitting position. Sitting upright makes having a bowel movement or urinating easier.
- Give the person privacy if possible. If the person is weak, do not leave him alone.
- When the person is done, lower the head of the bed. Ask the person to raise his buttocks. Support the lower back of the person with one hand. Carefully remove the bedpan with your other hand. Cover the bedpan with a towel and put it on a chair.
(Helping a patient who cannot raise his buttocks to use a bedpan)
- Put on disposable gloves.
- Roll the person on his side. Put a waterproof pad under the buttocks of the person to protect the bed from spills.
- Place the bedpan against the buttocks of the person with one hand.
- While holding the bedpan in place, gently roll the person onto his back and up onto the bedpan.
- Raise the head of the bed a little if it is allowed by the healthcare provider. Sitting upright makes having a bowel movement or urinating easier.
- Give the person privacy if possible. If he is weak, do not leave him alone.
- When the person is done, lower the head of the bed.
- Roll the person on his side just enough to carefully remove the bedpan.
- Cover the bedpan with a towel and put it on a chair.
(Cleaning the patient after bedpan use)
- Gently roll the person on his side.
- Clean the buttocks of the person with toilet paper first.
- Next, use a wet washcloth or wet wipe to clean the area. If necessary, use soap and water to clean the area well. If the person is a female, clean from front to back.
- Dry the area between the person’s legs.
- Check the skin for redness or sores. Tell the healthcare provider if you see any redness or sores. Use medicine on the sores as directed.
Other cleaning to be done
- Give the person a damp washcloth or wet wipe to clean his hands after using the bedpan
- Assist the patients to a comfortable position, empty and clean the bedpan with soap and water, and return it to the bedside.
- Clean the bedpan as needed with a disinfectant soap or cleaning solution such as bleach. Ask healthcare provider what cleaner you should use.
- Remove and discard you gloves and wash your hands.
- Spray the room with air freshener as needed to control odor unless contraindicated because of respiratory problems or allergies.
- Document color, odor amount and consistency of urine and feces and the condition of the perineal area