How to Position a Bedpan

Written by kelly smith
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How to Position a Bedpan
Assisting with toilet needs is an important caregiving task. (toilet paper image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Attending to a patient's toilet needs is an important caregiving task. This task can be made easier for the caregiver through the use of proper body mechanics and patient-positioning techniques. Efficient bedpan positioning can help to put the patient more at ease during a private and potentially uncomfortable moment.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bedpan
  • Disposable gloves
  • Peritoneal cleanser
  • Moist towelettes or wet washcloth
  • Toilet tissue
  • Room deodoriser
  • Disinfectant

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  1. 1

    Elevate the head of the bed if it is not contraindicated by the patient's condition.

  2. 2

    Assist the patient in turning to one side. This can be accomplished by having the patient bend one knee and push with his heel toward the opposite side of the bed. If the patient is unable to push with his heel or raise his hips, assist him in rolling to one side. Turning the patient may require the assistance of another person.

  3. 3

    Encourage the patient to hold onto the bed rail or overhead bar for stability.

  4. 4

    Position the bedpan with the widest side pointed toward the patient's buttocks.

  5. 5

    Hold the bedpan steady against the patient's buttocks while assisting her in lowering herself onto the bedpan.

  6. 6

    Allow the patient as much privacy as his condition allows. Draw the bedside curtains or step outside the room briefly.

  7. 7

    Assist the patient in raising her hips or turning to one side.

  8. 8

    Cleanse the patient's buttocks and genital area thoroughly with toilet tissue and peritoneal cleanser.

  9. 9

    Remove the bedpan. Do not place it on the bedside table.

  10. 10

    Help the patient reposition himself comfortably in the bed. Offer a wet cloth or moist towelette for his hands. Spray room deodoriser, if necessary.

  11. 11

    Clean and disinfect the bedpan and return it to the patient's room.

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