A bedpan washer is a machine or specially designed spray hose that can be used to clean bedpans and other items that contain human waste. They can typically be found in a hospital or health care setting in which patients are unable to use the toilet on their own and must rely on bedpans or urine bottles during urination or defecation. A manual bedpan washer is typically a spray hose attachment that can quickly and efficiently rinse bedpans. Mechanical bedpan washers are more complex machines that can resemble dishwashers. Bedpans and other equipment are placed in these machines and then emptied, washed, and sanitized.
When an individual is very ill or has been immobilized by an injury or other disability, he may not be able to comfortably or safely use a toilet. In such cases, he may need to use a bedpan or urine bottle for toileting needs. These items are typically brought to the patient in his bed and then removed by a nurse or other caretaker. As bedpans hold human waste, there are several special considerations in their cleaning, including sanitation as well as the comfort of the person who is charged with washing bedpans.
Health care facilities, including nursing homes and hospitals, often rely on bedpans for many of their patients. This presents a sanitation issue, as these facilities care for people who are very vulnerable to infection. Workers are also at risk of infection, making it extremely important that bedpans be cleaned and sterilized as soon as possible after use. In smaller facilities, the use of a hose-type bedpan washer allows workers to keep their distance while quickly using a pressurized spray of water to wash out bedpan contents. These hoses may make use of a hand-held lever or foot pedals to control the water spray.
Larger facilities may need to rely on a mechanical bedpan washer, as these can often more quickly and safely manage bedpan cleaning. These units can hold more than one bedpan at a time and may completely automate the process, which reduces the exposure of an employee to human waste. This can reduce the risk of infection for workers as well as the patients whom they care for. An automated bedpan washer typically includes a disinfect cycle that may be able to more effectively kill bacteria than a spray hose. Hospitals may also be able to use these devices for cleaning and disinfecting other types of medical equipment.