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Redesign Of A Bed Pan


Problem Statement :

“To ease the process and ensure comfort during bowel evacuation of bedridden patients.”
Description :  Patients who undergo severe surgeries and who are bedridden with zero mobility need external help for their daily evacuation (for both stool/urine). However, due to their fragile condition and being bedridden, they may not have smooth bowel movements. Therefore nurses help such patients by collecting their wastes by using a bedpan. As mentioned before usage of bedpans is not very patient-friendly, it might cause muscular discomfort (due to post-operative conditions) and in some cases may even lead to further bone damage, etc.

Primary Research :

I) Problems Associated with current bedpans :

1.  Article and video shows problems associated with bedpan cleaning…

2. Use of hard materials like stainless steel, plastic (mostly PVC) which are rigid and uncomfortable for patients who are very fragile post-surgery/fracture etc.

3. In a research paper by NCBI (, there are references to audits (conducted in 2010) which state that the use of bedpans have been problematic to patients in two ways
I) Loss of privacy (like in toilets) and lack of dignity :
Citations :
II) Constipation issues :
An environment that lacks appropriate privacy may force a patient to feel that it is inconvenient to use the toilet, thus resisting the urge to defecate.
III) Long-term physical inactivity that results in fecal incontinence

4. In the same research paper by NCBI as mentioned above

( it is also mentioned in its clinical
significance “Bedpans need to be used for a shorter duration, however, longer usage causes pressure sores, ulcers & neuropathy.

5. Management of patients who are very obese and have issues with moving while on the bed is also very difficult for the nurses to handle.

6. Problem of spillage of bedpan contents is also an issue that needs to be addressed.

7. Research article on Patient experience while using bedpans…

8. Ergonomics is not ideal while using a bedpan

In medical terminologies, there is a mention known as anorectal angle (This is the “mid-axial longitudinal axis of the rectum and the anal canal”). The ideal value of the anorectal angle is 90° – 100° but may not be the same while the use of bedpans. An article about how our bathroom postures affect our health ( While evacuation an individual posture can be of two types:- sitting and squatting, which is not the case while the use of bedpans causes bowel issues.
II) Secondary Research : Ground Interviews/Digital Surveys
User Persona’s :
1. Patient - Age 34 Female (Educated)
– Post cesarian operation bedridden
– Experience on Bed Pans
  • Guilt feeling while using, despite nurses help
  • Difficult to move about due to stitches
  • Heavy body weight and hurt due to the rigid structure
2. Patient - Age 86 Female (Uneducated)
Old age immobility
  • Heavy body weight and discomfort
  • Needs support for sitting on the chair(commode shaped)
  • Constipation issues due to immobility structure
3. Patient - Age 75 Male (Educated)
Bedridden due to a knee fracture
  • Guilt and shy feeling while the procedure is being carried out
  • Constipation Issue while bedridden, therefore enema was incorporated
  • High amount of discomfort with the rigid pan because of fragile body

Current Existing Solutions :

1. An Interesting article on alternatives for bedpans washers/#:~:text=By%20far%20the%20best%20alternative,single%2Duse%20recyclable%20pulp%20utensils.

2. Chair shaped as commode (portable)…

3. Rubber-based bedpans (India) Rs 120…

4. Integrated bedpan…

5. Easy Inflatable Bed Pan with biodegradable cover

6. Suction systems integrated with the bed…

Solution Proposed :

“To design an inflatable and flexible bedpan with increased patient comfort during egestion.”

Methods & Process Involved :

The external cover :

  • The entire rigid bedpan will be replaced by a hollow nylon fabric-based enclosure which can be inflated by an external hand/automatic air pump.
  • This external inflatable cover is reusable, washable, and can be sterilized by mild alcohol-based disinfectants.

The internal structure :

  • The internal hollow space consists of a replaceable biodegradable plastic bag which will be used to collect the feces/stool/urine etc.
  • This cover can be discarded after use.

Ideation Sketches