Assisting with a Bedpan or Urinal

Voiding and bowel elimination for the client confined to bed require a bedpan and/or a urinal. The bedridden client may have altered elimination patterns. Reduced mobility, pain, privacy issues, the need for assistance, delays in getting assistance when needed, and the fear of interruption can all alter normal elimination patterns. Fear of creating embarrassing noises, sights, or odors may compel the client to reduce fluid intake or avoid the urge to eliminate while in the hospital. Constipation, embarrassment, incontinence, and discomfort can result. Sensitivity, proper technique, and client education by the nurse support the client on bedrest.


Bedpan (regular or fracture) or urinal

Disposable gloves

Bedpan cover

Toilet paper

Washcloth and towel



Positioning a Bedpan


1. Close curtain or door.

2. Wash hands; apply gloves.

3. Lower head of bed so client is in supine position.

4. Elevate bed.

5. Assist client to side-lying position using side rail for support.

6. Warm bedpan under warm water if needed; powder if necessary .

7. Place bedpan under buttocks. Place a fracture pan with the lower end near the clients lower back region. Place large bedpans with the opening near the clients thighs.

8. While holding the bedpan with one hand, help the client roll onto the back, while pushing against the bedpan (toward the center of the bed) to hold it in place.

9. Alternate: Help the client raise the hips using the overbed trapeze, and slide the pan in place.

Alternate: If the client is unable to turn or raise hips, use a fracture pan instead of a bedpan. With a fracture pan, the flat side is placed toward the clients head .

10. Check placement of bedpan by looking between clients legs.

11. If indicated, elevate head of bed to 45 angle or higher for comfort.

12. Place call light within reach of client; place side rails in upright position, lower bed, and provide privacy.

13. Remove gloves; wash hands.

Positioning a Urinal

14. Repeat Actions 1 and 2.

15. Lift the covers and place the urinal so the client may grasp the handle and position it. If the client cannot do this, you must position the urinal and place the penis into the opening.

16. Remove gloves; wash hands.

Removing a Bedpan

17. Wash hands; apply gloves.

18. Gather toilet paper and washing supplies.

19. Lower head of bed to supine position.

20. While holding bedpan with one hand, roll client to side and remove the pan, being careful not to pull or shear skin sticking to the pan and being careful not to spill contents

21. Assist with cleaning or wiping; always wipe with a front to back motion.

22. Empty bedpan (measure urine output if ordered), clean bedpan, and store it in proper place; if bedpan is to be emptied outside clients room, cover it during transport.

23. Remove soiled gloves.Wash hands.

24. Allow client to wash hands.

25. Place call light within reach; recheck that side rails are in the upright position.

26. Wash hands.

Removing a Urinal

27. Wash hands and apply gloves.

28. Empty the urinal, measuring urine output if ordered, rinse the urinal and replace it within the clients reach.

29. Remove soiled gloves.Wash hands.

30. Allow client to wash hands.

31. Place call light within reach; recheck that side rails are in the upright position.

32. Wash hands.