Introduction: DRY-BED BED PAN

About: Oldest of seven children, Veteran, ARC and Polls Volunteer, Experimenter. Never had a car till September last year, because I relied on a Motorcycle or a Truck. Traveled a good portion of Europe, most of the …

My Lady recently, well, both of us really, were in a catastrophic auto accident.

I got a bruise on my right shoulder.

She got a forearm broken in two places within four inches of her wrist, broken ankle, contused ribs, horrific bruising all over her body. She couldn't get out of bed without help, and was reduced to a bed pan for voiding. Picking her up to place her on the portable commode was too painful to try more than a couple times.

It turned out that bed pans aren't made capacious enough to hold all the void liquid a person can put out, so we had to change bedding three and more times daily. Considering the pain of just getting her out of the bed, it behooved me to figure out something to end the overflow.

Thus the Nearly Self-Emptying Bed Pan.

Step 1: Step 1 - Bed Pan Drain

Understanding that adding a drain to the bottom of the bed pan would likely contribute to leaks, and friction on bedding on sliding in, and possibly physical pain, I decided to make a siphon to remove void as it occurred. The siphon tube would be completely contained inside the pan.

Of course, sucking on the end of the hose was out, so a mechanical vaccum was sought. At first I purchased a couple plastic thingys that claimed to be in-line siphons, at the drug store, for a couple bucks apiece. I bought two in order to get two drain hoses, since each only came with one hose with a built in friction fitting to fit on the bulb. The bulb had two one way valves in each end, both operating in the same direction. The theory was that the bulb being compressed in the hand would expell fluid from one end into a receptacle, and upon release would cause suction to move fluid from pan.

The "IN", or suction, hose, was hot glued into the bed pan to go right up to the very front of the pan. The other end of this hose has a simple cast fitting that friction fits onto the bulb, enclosing one of the valves, in this case the IN valve.

Step 2: Step 2 - RECEPTACLE

With the point of my pocket knife rotated and drilled into the lid of a two liter bottle, a hole just large enough to friction fit the "OUT", or drain hose from the bulb. The lid has a rubberish seal inside that helped with the friction, as the hole was somewhat tapered due to the point of the pocket knife, which meant the hole in the seal was a bit smaller than the hole through the plastic. The rubbery seal also helped hold and seal the hose to the lid, and therefore the bottle. Only an inch of hose protrudes into the bottle.

This hose was from the second set, as the sets only come with one hose. (Yeah, I thought that odd.)

I did make this hole somewhat off center in order to have room for a second hole, a bit smaller, which allows air to vent out of the bottle to allow the filling of the bottle.

At any rate the other end of this hose also had a cast on friction fitting to push onto the OUT end of the bulb, and was pushed on. Both ends of the bulb looked the same.

A two liter bottle seemed to be enough capacity that a day or a night could be captured. The bottle was emptied and rinsed each morning or evening, a bit of Poo-Perie spritzed in it and over the pan, and reassembled ready for the day again. This included an in-sink rinsing of the pan and then three or four ounces of water being siphoned also into the bottle to prevent the void croding the valves.


So then all the parts were pushed together, (Not as hard a job as it sounds), and set up beside the bed to put onto action.

With the cooperation of the patient, (who was hoping to keep her bed dryer), when her bladder said "NOW!", we slid the newly outfitted pan into place.

With much squeezing and application of effort and apologies, the project rapidly became almost a complete failure. Evidently the cheap valves just wouldn't cooperate. Mind you, it was purported to be a liquid pump. It was supposed to be able to siphon gasoline from autos for lawnmowers, but I was woefull at the operation. Eventually I kinked the IN hose while squeezing the bulb, then kinked the drain hose as releasing bulb, which did cause barely enough suction to get pee/void over the edge of the bed pan and down the hose to the bottle, which was on the floor, and thankfully once started simple siphon action continued until the pan was empty, but there were complaints of unusual bug like crawling, and bubbling sensations against her nether regions from bubbles during the squeezing. So.... a search for better equipment was made..

Step 4: Step 4 - NEW PARTS

The local NAPA dealer had this black rubber version, which seemed to be much more efficacious. I blew on the valves, decided it would work, and paid $34 for it. But since the ends of this bulb were, while much more nicely manufactured, of much smaller diameter, I purchased a few inches of black rubber hose to friction fit on them, that the outer diameter was equal to the ends on the previous blue piece of junk. Note the nicely barbed fittings on the end of this bulb.

The radiator hose was just a bit too small to fit snugly in the plastic pre-formed end on the hose, so a bit of Shoo-Goo was used to glue and seal them together..


It turned out the valves in the new bulb do notwork much better than the first blue bulb, and would not allow self priming over the two or four inches from the pan bottom either. But since the NAPA bulb worked so much better at offering suction on expansion I kept it.

So, to make it work, after placing the pan, holding the bulb below the edge of the bed, the IN hose gets kinked, then the bulb squeezed, then release the IN kink and kink the OUT house, then release the bulb. The void is visible in the hose, and when the bulb seems full immediately release the OUT kink.

On opening the second kink the siphoning starts.

The receptacle is on the floor, (actually kept in a $0.99 waste basket to contain possible whatevers), and since the hose end is several inches above the void level you get an audible splashing noise, which becomes an indicator of the end of the job when it stops.

Hand patient a baby wipe, and remove empty bed pan. Rinse in sink, then leave a few ounces of clear water in the pan, and at edge of sink do the siphoning process again to clear the hose and valves of void. (I left about ten feet of the small hose between the pan and the receptacle, with the bulb about a yard from the pan, so that it could be carried to the sink while just leaving the receptacle in the corner.)


The project was a great success. From changing the bedding at minimum three times a day, only once in three weeks did the pan have an overflow problem, and that was because the edge of the nightie was in the bed pan.

(Of course the bedding was changed regularly every two or three days otherwise, but no more cold spots!)

Before and After Contest 2017

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2017