Assisting patients in using a bedpan is a skill that Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) must master. Some patients, due to their conditions or limited mobility may require the use of a bedpan. As a CNA it is not your responsibility to provide care but also to ensure the comfort, dignity and cleanliness of your patients. Properly assisting patients with a bedpan not helps prevent any embarrassment but also contributes to their well being. This guide provides step by step instructions on how to assist patients with using a bedpan while prioritizing their privacy, safety and dignity.

Preparing for Assistance with Bedpan

Before you begin assisting a patient with a bedpan it is crucial to be prepared. Follow these steps to ensure a process:

1.1 Hand Hygiene

Start by thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water. Maintaining hand hygiene is essential in preventing the spread of germs and maintaining a safe environment for both you and the patient.

1.2. Communication

Approach the patient, with kindness and understanding. Greet them by name if appropriate and introduce yourself if necessary. To establish communication it is important to explain the procedure in an empathetic manner. Address any concerns or questions the patient may have to ensure they feel at ease and well informed.

1.3 Privacy and Comfort

Respect the patient’s privacy by closing curtains, doors or blinds whenever necessary. Make sure the patient is comfortable, by adjusting their bedding and providing pillows for support if needed. Creating an comfortable environment plays a role in maintaining the patients sense of security and dignity.

1.4 Glove Usage

Before proceeding remember to put on a pair of gloves. Wearing gloves is crucial for maintaining hygiene protecting yourself from contamination and ensuring the safety of the patient throughout the process.

Assisting the Patient with Bedpan

Assisting a patient with using a bedpan involves following a set of coordinated steps. Please adhere to these instructions to ensure both safety and efficiency:

2.1 Positioning the Patient

  • Ask the patient to lie on their back (in position).
  • If possible, assist them in turning onto their side facing away from you with movements that provide support while preventing discomfort or strain.
  • Place a towel or disposable pad beneath the patient’s hips to safeguard bedding against any spills or leaks.

2.2 Placing the Bedpan

  • Hold the bedpan ensuring it is clean and sanitized.
  • Carefully slide the bedpan beneath the patient’s buttocks making sure it is properly aligned to avoid any spills.
  • Maintain communication with the patient throughout this process reassuring them and ensuring their comfort.

2.3 Ensuring Alignment

  • Make sure that the bedpan is positioned correctly under the patients buttocks.
  • Assist the patient in shifting their weight onto the bedpan while prioritizing their comfort and stability.
  • Check for any discomfort or pressure points. Make adjustments to ensure the well being of the patient.

2.4 Providing Privacy

  • Once the patient is comfortably settled on the bedpan ensure they have privacy by closing curtains or doors.
  • Respect their need for discretion and dignity during this procedure.

Post Assistance Care

After using a bedpan it’s crucial to provide care and support to maintain hygiene and comfort:

3.1 Timely Response

  • Be attentive to any needs expressed by the patient and respond promptly if they require assistance or are ready to be taken off of a bedpan.

3.2 Removing the Bedpan

  • Before proceeding, put on a pair of gloves.
  • Carefully remove the bedpan from beneath the patient’s buttocks.
  • It’s important to be cautious and avoid any movements that may cause discomfort or spills.

3.3 Cleaning and Hygiene

  • When using a bedpan with a lid make sure to cover its contents before placing it on a surface. 
  • Assist the patient in cleaning themselves using hygiene products, like wipes or a damp cloth.
  • Always respect the patient’s privacy. Offer assistance when needed while maintaining a compassionate attitude. 

3.4 Providing Comfort

  • Once the patient is clean and comfortable, help them shift their weight and reposition onto their back.
  • When done carefully remove any towels or disposable pads from beneath the patient’s hips ensuring that the bedding remains clean and dry. 

3.5 Hand Hygiene

  • After assisting the patient remember to remove your gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to maintain hygiene.


In conclusion assisting a patient with a bedpan requires expertise as well as empathy and respect for their dignity. By following these steps you can ensure an efficient and compassionate experience for the patient while minimizing discomfort or embarrassment. As a CNA, its important to remember that your role goes beyond care – you are there to provide support, comfort and reassurance during moments. Becoming proficient in helping a patient use a bedpan greatly contributes to the welfare and contentment of those you’re responsible for.