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A bedpan or bed pan is a receptacle used for the toileting of a bedridden patient in a health care facility, and is usually made of metal, glass, ceramic, or plastic. A bedpan can be used for both urinary and fecal discharge. Many diseases can confine a patient to bed, necessitating the use of bedpans, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, and dementia. Additionally, many patients may be confined to a bed temporarily as a result of a temporary illness, injury, or surgery, thereby necessitating the use of a bedpan.

Bedpans are usually constructed of stainless steel, which is easy to clean and durable, but may be cold, hard, and uncomfortable to use. Also, the supporting area of some products is very small, and prolonged use can cause pressure ulcers. To solve these problems, new ergonomic bedpans have been developed, which support the patient with a larger area of warm plastic. Some designs completely cover the genitalia during use, offering protection and an extra measure of privacy. On the other hand, the material is more difficult to sterilize, and may become a reservoir for microorganisms.

Fracture bedpans are smaller than standard size bedpans, and have one flat end. These bedpans are designed specifically for patients who have had a hip fracture or are recovering from hip replacement. This type of bedpan may be used for those patients who cannot raise their hips high enough or roll over onto a regular size bedpan.[1]

In recent years, a bedpan liner made of recycled wood pulp (molded pulp) is more popular in UK hospitals; it is for single use, decreasing the risk of cross-contamination diseases. An alternative to the recycled pulp liner is the plastic bedpan liner, which also creates a barrier between the waste and the bedpan. Some liners are made of biodegradable plastic and contain absorbent powder to eliminate splashing and spills. Liners are used in hospitals to decrease infection, and can also be purchased and used for home health care.


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  1. ^ Bunker Rosdahl, Caroline; Kowalski, Mary T. (2008). Textbook of basic nursing (9th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 648. ISBN 0781765218. Retrieved March 29, 2012.

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