Helping the Patient to Use the Bedpan

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It is very difficult for bedridden patients to use bathroom for bowel activities and urination. For accomplishing the activities, these clients depend on a bedpan. As a CNA, you must know how to help the patient to use the bedpan.

Helping the Patient to Use the Bedpan

This article includes the correct process of using bedpan and expert’s tips that will assist you in demonstrating this skill in a accurate manner.

Step-wise Procedure of Helping the Patient to Use the Bedpan

Step 1- Explain the procedure to the patient
Greet the client. In order to remove uncertainty and fear from patient’s mind, tell him clearly that you are going to assist him use the bedpan.

Step 2- Provide privacy to the patient
Close the door and put curtains on the window to provide privacy to the client.

Step 3- Adjust the bed and put on gloves 
Adjust the head of the bed to the lowest position (as tolerated by the patient). It will help the patient to roll to his side. Now, wear disposable gloves.

Step 4- Place the bedpan

  • Help the patient to lie on his back (supine position). Then, assist him to turn on his side.
  • Put bedpan correctly under patient’s buttocks. To make sure that the bedpan has been rightly placed, ask the client to spread the legs.
  • After positioning patient on bedpan, raise head of the bed.

Step 5- Remove and dispose the gloves
Take out your gloves and dispose them. Wash your hands.

Step 6- Remove the bedpan, when the patient is done

  • When the patient is done, make sure that he/she has adequate privacy.
  • Before removing bedpan, rinse your hands again and put on clean gloves.
  • Lower the head of the bed.
  • Help the client in turning on his/her side. To prevent the contents from tipping out on the bed, support the bedpan. Immediately change the bed linens, in case a spill occurs.
  • Remove the bedpan and put it aside.
  • Make sure that the client’s genitals and buttocks are clean, so as to prevent infection.
  • Allow the patient to return to a comfortable position.
  • Provide him with a wet towel or cloth to wash hands, if he wishes so.
  • Appropriately measure and record the output.

Step 7- Dispose the secretions

  • Empty the bedpan as directed. Rinse it.
  • Ensure that it is either cleaned or replaced.

Step 8- Wash your hands
After completing the procedure, remove the gloves and wash your hands for no less than one minute.

Points to Remember

  • Always inform the patient as what you are going to do. This will make the client to feel more at ease.
  • Take care of the privacy of the patient. Don’t forget to put curtains on the windows and close the door, before commencing the procedure.
  • Never leave a client on a bedpan for a longer time as it may result in skin breakdown.
  • While helping the patient with this process, remain professional.
  • Before disposing the secretions, record the output in a proper manner.
  • Wash your hands, before and after completion of the process.

Expert’s Tips:

This is the most difficult skill to demonstrate in front of your examiner, according to the experts. Actually, using a bedpan is not that difficult, but students feel shy and awkward to perform it in front of that person, who is observing your activities and grading your performance. To make things easy, just imagine about the feelings of your patient when you assist them in their bowel activities.

If you are using a bedpan on aged person, don’t slide it too roughly because the skin of elderly patients is super fragile and rough use of bedpan may lead to skin breakdowns or rashes. Therefore, while demonstrating this skill in the practical exam, show the evaluator that you know how to be gentle and firm.

Experts advise you to remain very careful while removing the bedpan. Even a little spill would lead to an embarrassing situation for the patient and will create a mess for you. At that very moment, you will need to change the bed linen.

If you are a new CNA, you might have to encounter the situations in which the client may refuse to utilize the bedpan. This may aggravate you because you have several clients to take care for. Keep yourself calm and respect their dignity. Don’t force patients to use bedpans, just for your convenience. If you can put the patient on the bed side toilet or take to the bathroom, do it for them.

Video Demonstration

This video demonstrates the perfect way to assist the client to use the bedpan.