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How to Use a Bedpan CNA Skill

As a CNA it’s very important to know how to use a bedpan properly as part of your day to day activities. This is a skill you can be tested on as part of your CNA skills exam, so it’s important to know how to properly perform every step of the process from bedpan placement to emptying, rinsing and washing the bedpan. 

To follow along with the entire process, please watch this CNA bedpan skill video demonstration. 

CNA bedpan skill procedure

The following steps are a foundational guideline for successfully performing the CNA bedpan skill during a CNA skills examination.

  1. Bedpan placement should be against the patient’s buttocks
  2. Gently roll the patient onto their back.
  3. Raise the head of the bed to make the patient comfortable and then excuse yourself to allow them some privacy. 
  4. Remove your gloves, dispose of them, and perform your hand hygiene.
  5. Once they’ve finished using the bedpan, lower the bed to a flat position and assist them in turning back onto their side. Be sure to hold the bedpan so that it doesn’t spill onto the bed. If there is a spill, you’ll need to change the linen immediately.
  6. At this point, slide the bedpan away and set it aside as you make sure the patients genitals and buttocks are clean. 
  7. Assist the patient in returning to a seated position or their preferred, comfortable position and provide a damp cloth or paper towel to wash their hands if they would like one.
  8. Measure the output and record it, then empty the bedpan into the toilet or as directed. 
  9. Clean or replace the bedpan as necessary.
  10. Remove and dispose of your gloves, then wash your hands for a minimum of one minute.

The bedpan skill is an important one to master, and knowing how to perform it in a thoughtful way can make a big difference in the relationships you have with your patients. In many instances, this is something that a patient hasn’t required for much of their life, so showing caring and compassion through the process can help them feel much more comfortable when using a bedpan.

* Please be sure to consult the testing materials provided by the skills test provider in your state to ensure that these steps for how a CNA is to perform the bedpan skill procedure are in compliance. The procedure in different states and from different test providers can vary slightly and greatly affect your score.