How to Use a Bedpan

People with limited mobility need extra time to get around and perform daily tasks, but some functions cannot wait. Using the restroom facilities can be complicated not only for the amount of time it takes to reach the restroom, but also for the physical positioning required to sit on a toilet comfortably and get back up. If you are caring for a loved one who needs assistance with using the restroom, a bedpan is a convenient and low-cost option for making the process easier. Bedpans are also ideal for people who are bedridden and cannot reach the restroom at all. Here’s what you need to know about how to use a bedpan:

What is a bedpan?

A bedpan is a container used to collect urine or feces. It is specially shaped to fit under a person lying or sitting in bed. Bedpans are typically made of plastic or metal, and some can be used with liners to prevent splashing and to make cleaning easier. Disposable bedpans are also available for easier cleanup, but for long-term use, reusable bedpans are more cost effective.

Other types of bedpans include:

  • Pontoon style bedpan: Made of heavy-duty polypropylene and contoured for patient
    comfort, with a molded shape that prevents spills during use and conveyance.
  • Fracture bedpan: Smaller and wedge-shaped with a low tapered front, ideal for
    obese patients or those with limited mobility in bed.
  • Female urinal & male urinals: Smaller devices specifically shaped for urination use only.


How do you use a bedpan?

Before using the bedpan, spread an extra layer of absorbent padding or a towel on the bed to catch any spills. If the bedpan is made of metal, it’s a good idea to warm it slightly before using. Simply fill the pan with warm water, letting the warmth spread through the metal, then dump the water out and dry the outside. For both metal and plastic bedpans, sprinkle body powder or cornstarch on the rim of the pan to help with sliding.

To get the bedpan in position, have the patient sit up or lift their hips slightly, then slide the bedpan underneath the buttocks. If the patient is unable to lift themselves, help them turn to the side and gently press the bedpan against the buttocks before helping them turn back onto the bedpan. If possible, help them get into a sitting position for easier elimination.

Give your loved one privacy during bedpan use unless safety is a concern, but check in after 5-10 minutes to see if everything is okay. Once they are done, hold the bedpan in place and help the person roll off of it. Help them wipe if needed, and offer sanitary wipes for their

How do you clean a bedpan?

After your loved one is finished using the bedpan, empty the contents into the toilet and flush away. The bedpan will need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before using again, so scrub the pan with soapy water and rinse with a solution of one part bleach to three parts water. Rinse the bedpan several more times with plain water to remove all traces of the bleach solution, and dry thoroughly. It’s a good idea to wear gloves while helping your loved one use the bedpan and while cleaning it, and be sure to still wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap when you’re done.

Bedpans at Avondale HME

If you’re a caregiver and your loved one is experiencing difficulty with getting to the restroom in time, Avondale HME offers a range of bedpans that can help, including bedpans for elderly patients, bedpans for bedridden patients, or a male or female urinal for occasional use. We also offer a wide selection of other home-use medical equipment to make your caregiving more effective and your loved one more comfortable. For more information, give us a call today.