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Bacteriological hazards of disposable bedpan systems
  1. G. L. Gibson1
  1. Bacteriology Laboratory, County Hospital, York


    A system using disposable papier maché bedpans and urinals in hospital has advantages of ease of handling for the nurse and cleanliness for the patient. Disposal of the bedpans and their contents is by destruction and flushing to waste. Some bacteriological hazards of this process in the Haigh Sluicemaster and J.M.L. Clinimatic machines are assessed, particularly the dispersal of the contents in spray and aerosol during opening, closing, and running the machines. Various safety devices were tested and some deficiencies are discussed.

    A major defect in the system is the need at present for a bedpan carrier or support which is not disposable and requires cleaning and disinfection. Minor problems include ordering and storing bulky items, possibly the texture of the bedpans themselves, and perhaps the effect of the bulk of paper discharged into the sewage system.

    At present the system seems unsuitable for use in infectious disease hospitals and has some deficiencies in use in general wards. The improvements suggested would greatly increase its acceptability which should then be completely re-assessed. To this end the examination of improved models using totally disposable bedpans is proceeding.

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    • 1 Present address: Public Health Laboratory, Bridle Path, York Road, Leeds 15