How To Help Someone Use A Bedpan Or A Urinal

What are bedpans and urinals?

Bedpans and urinals are devices that allow people to have a bowel movement or urinate while they are in bed. A man uses a bedpan for a bowel movement but may prefer a urinal when he urinates. Women usually use a bedpan for bowel movements and urinating.

Why does a person need to use a bedpan or urinal?

A person may need to use a bedpan or urinal because he cannot walk to the bathroom. He may have an illness, injury, or surgery that makes him unable to walk. A person should regularly urinate and have bowel movements to help prevent other health problems from occurring. There may be only a small amount of time between the urge to urinate and urination. The caregiver must be quick to respond to the toileting needs of the person in bed.

What kinds of bedpans and urinals are there?

There are several different kinds of bedpans and urinals available. Some are metal and others are hard plastic. There are bedpans for people who cannot raise their hips. This may include people in body casts or with hip fractures. Some urinals are made for men and others are made for women. Some urinals are reusable and others are thrown away after each use. You can buy bedpans and urinals at medical supply and drug stores. You may also be able to take home the bedpans and urinals from the hospital.

How do I get ready to help a person use a bedpan?

  • Gather your supplies:

    • A basin with warm water

    • Disposable gloves

    • Toilet paper

    • Towels

    • 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.

How do I help 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.

How do I help a person 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.

How do I clean the person after he uses the bedpan?

  • 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.

How do I help a person use a urinal?

  • Put on disposable gloves.

  • Ask the person to put the urinal between his legs.

  • Spread the person's legs if he cannot do it himself.

  • If the person is male and needs extra help, place his penis into the opening at the top of the urinal.

  • Position the urinal and hold it gently while the person urinates.

  • When the person is done, carefully remove the urinal.

  • Gently wipe between the person's legs with a damp washcloth. If the person is a female, clean from front to back.

  • Dry the area between the person's legs.

What other cleaning needs to be done?

  • Give the person a damp washcloth or wet wipe to clean his hands after using the bedpan or urinal.

  • Take the bedpan or urinal to the bathroom and empty it into the toilet.

  • Clean the bedpan or urinal with soap and water.

  • Clean the bedpan or urinal as needed with a disinfectant soap or cleaning solution such as bleach. Ask healthcare provider what cleaner you should use.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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