Bedpan vs. Fracture Pan: Which Is Right for You?

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When you’re not able to get out of bed to use the toilet, bedpans and fracture pans are essential tools for managing your bathroom needs. They’re designed to collect waste while you’re lying down, providing a convenient solution for individuals who are bedridden or have limited mobility. But these two types of pans aren’t created equal – each has its own unique features and benefits.

What Is a Bedpan?

Bedpan vs. Fracture Pan

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a bedpan? A bedpan is a shallow container used for urination or defecation when getting out of bed isn’t an option. It’s typically made of plastic or metal and comes in two main types: regular bedpans and fracture pans.

Pros and Cons of Bedpans


  • Bedpans are versatile and can be used by a wide range of patients.
  • They come in different sizes and shapes to accommodate various needs.
  • Bedpans are relatively easy to clean and sanitize.


  • Some people find bedpans uncomfortable or awkward to use.
  • They may not be suitable for patients with certain medical conditions or injuries.
  • Emptying and cleaning a bedpan can be messy and unpleasant.

What Is a Fracture Pan?

Bedpan vs. Fracture Pan

Now, let’s talk about fracture pans. A fracture pan is a special type of bedpan designed specifically for patients with lower extremity injuries, such as hip fractures or hip replacements. Unlike regular bedpans, fracture pans have one flat end, making them easier to slide under the patient without causing discomfort or exacerbating their injury.

Pros and Cons of Fracture Pans


  • Fracture pans are ideal for patients with hip or leg injuries who need extra support and stability.
  • The flat end of the fracture pan reduces the risk of further injury or discomfort during use.
  • They’re often recommended by healthcare professionals for post-surgery recovery or rehabilitation.


  • Fracture pans may not be as readily available as regular bedpans in all healthcare settings.
  • Some patients may still find them uncomfortable to use, especially if they’re experiencing significant pain or stiffness.
  • Like regular bedpans, fracture pans require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent infections and odors.

Which Is Better for Seniors?

Now, let’s address the big question: which type of pan is better for seniors? The answer depends on the individual’s specific needs and circumstances. For seniors who are recovering from hip surgery or dealing with hip fractures, a fracture pan may offer more comfort and support during bathroom trips. However, for those who don’t have mobility issues or significant injuries, a regular bedpan may suffice.

What Does the Research Say?

In this study conducted by Tammy J. Toney-Butler and Gwendolyn Gaston at the Dallas Nursing Institute, they looked into the management of bedpans in nursing care.

They found that bedpans have been around for a long time and are still used today for people who are too sick or injured to use a regular toilet. There are two main types of bedpans: regular and fracture. The regular one is bigger, while the fracture one has a flat end, making it easier to use for patients with certain injuries like hip fractures or replacements.

One interesting thing they noted is the availability of bariatric bedpans, which can support individuals weighing up to 1200 pounds. This shows how healthcare providers are adapting to the needs of different patients.

The study also highlighted that using a bedpan can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for patients, regardless of gender. This discomfort can be compounded by factors like sharing a room with others or overcrowding in hospitals, which can compromise patient privacy.

Overall, the research sheds light on the importance of proper management of bedpans in nursing care to ensure patient comfort, dignity, and hygiene.


In conclusion, both bedpans and fracture pans play important roles in providing bathroom assistance to individuals with limited mobility or injuries. While bedpans are more versatile and widely used, fracture pans offer added benefits for patients with lower extremity injuries, such as hip fractures or hip replacements. 

Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on the individual’s specific needs and preferences, as well as the recommendations of their healthcare provider.

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