We’ve already discussed the multitude of reasons why you should not wash bedpans by hand and instead use an automated bedpan disinfector.
Washer disinfectors are a quantum leap forwards in terms of their effectiveness in fully disinfecting reusable plastic or metal bedpans:
- They heat the internal chamber to 80°C – the temperature required to kill or denature harmful bacteria
- There’s no risk of splash back from high-pressure water hoses as the wash process is contained within the machine
- Waste is disposed of much more quickly and efficiently, minimising clinicians’ exposure to hazardous waste
But did you know that some models are even more advanced in terms of their ability to reduce the risk of cross contamination and infection?
Enter the hands-free bedpan washer.
Reducing the risk of infection
No matter how hard healthcare staff try to stick to hygiene best practise, there is always the possibility that their hands could come into contact with waste when handling soiled bedpans.
Even if you wear gloves, dispose of them straight away, and thoroughly wash your hands, there is still a chance that someone else will end up touching a surface which you have accidentally contaminated.
Staff are supposed to keep their gloves on when operating a bedpan washer, meaning any infectious material which you have touched with your gloves can be transferred to other surfaces, for example, the buttons on a bedpan washer.
If everyone wore gloves, then any infections passed from bedpan to glove to machine would only be transferred to the next person’s gloves. If gloves are promptly disposed of once the operator has finished loading and operating the machine, then surely no one is at risk of contamination?
However, that’s an ideal world situation. We all know that this can’t always be guaranteed.
Someone might forget to press the start button before they remove their gloves, and therefore have to touch the machine with bare hands. Or they might not worry about gloves when emptying the machine because they know the bedpans inside will be clean, and not think about the outer surfaces being covered in harmful microbes.
Where hands-free comes to the fore
If there’s no reason for you to touch any buttons, lids, doors, or any of the outer surfaces of the machine with dirty hands, then the possibility of these surfaces becoming contaminated is vastly reduced.
DDC Dolphin have a range of top-loading and front-opening bedpan washers which are opened using either a foot plate or foot cup located at the base of the front of the machine. You simply push the plate with your foot or place the tip of your foot in the cup and the lid or door will open.
Some machines also have the option of an optical hand sensor to both close and operate the machine. Once the soiled bedpans have been placed inside the machine, you just hold your hand in front of the sensor to close the door/lid, and the wash cycle will automatically start. You can also have the machine programmed to automatically close the lid after 10 seconds and the cycle will begin a few seconds later.
Other machines are opened with a foot cup or plate and operated using elbow buttons, which again greatly reduces the transfer of microbes from hands to the surfaces of the machine.
Upgrade your washer disinfector now
If you’re thinking of investing in a hands-free bedpan washer to help protect your patients or residents and staff,