CNA Training Skills: How to Help Your Patients Use a Bedpan

cna trainingCNA Training

Throughout your CNA Training, you will be taught many invaluable skills that you will use each and every day to care for your patients. One such skill will be assisting your patients with using a bedpan. Many patients who are unable to walk or leave their bed will have to use a bedpan, and knowing how to help them use this tool after CNA training can prevent embarrassing and unpleasant messes.


In the following article, we will help you learn, or remember, how to properly assist your patients with using a bedpan after CNA training.

Using a Bedpan After CNA Training


Before you begin helping your patients use a bedpan after CNA training, always remember to wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap. Greet the patient, and take the time to explain what you will be doing and how you will be helping her use the bedpan. Draw the curtain or shut the door to give your patient adequate privacy, and then wash your hands again. Put on a pair of clean gloves.


  • Ask the patient to move into the supine position. In CNA training, you learned this position indicates that a patient is lying down on her back, facing up. If the patient needs assistance moving into this position, help her, and then assist her in rolling on one side.


  • Position the bedpan so it is directly against the patient’s bottom, and then roll the patient back into the supine position.


  • Ask the patient to spread her legs so you can see that the bedpan is placed correctly beneath them. If the patient is unable to spread her legs, let her know what you are doing and then spread the legs apart gently to check.


  • Raise the head of the bed slightly, to perhaps 45 degrees. This will make the patient feel more comfortable using the restroom in bed, as it feels more natural. Position the call light within reaching distance of the patient, like you learned in CNA training, and leave the room to give the patient some privacy. Remove your gloves and wash your hands thoroughly again.


  • When the patient has finished using the bedpan, she should ring the call light to indicate you are needed. When you enter the room, greet the patient, wash your hands, and put on a clean pair of gloves. Close the curtain or door to ensure the patient’s privacy.


  • Lower the bed to the flat position, and roll the patient to his or her side. While you are turning the patient, make sure to keep one hand on the bedpan to keep it flat against the bed. This will help prevent spillage.


  • Remove the bedpan and set it aside. You can then perform perineal care on the patient to ensure her genitals, anal area, and buttocks are all clean.


  • Check the bedding to ensure none of the bedpan’s contents spilled out. If they did, remove the bedding and replace it. Remember your CNA training here; don’t throw the dirty linens on the floor. Place them in the appropriate receptacle.


  • Help the patient into a comfortable position on the bed and adjust the bed’s head height as the patient desires. Provide the patient with a warm wash cloth if they want to wash their hands.


  • Measure the amount of output in the bedpan and record it, then dispose of the contents in the bedpan. You should then either clean the bedpan like you learned to do in CNA training or replace it.


  • Remove your gloves and wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least sixty seconds.

Preventing Infection and Embarrassment After CNA Training


Using a bedpan correctly after CNA training will ensure a patient can complete bowel and bodily functions without embarrassment or discomfort. Learning this important skill during CNA training also help to prevent infection in the genital area. Remember to be professional when you are assisting your patients with using a bedpan, use proper hand washing, and maintain the patient’s privacy after CNA training.

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