National guidelines advise that patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be isolated from others where possible to reduce the transmission of the virus. Health authorities have advocated that single-use personal protective equipment (PPE) be disposed of immediately after use. PPE comes into contact with high-risk droplets, therefore it is safer and easier to dispose of rather than attempt to clean.

The WHO has advocated that a one-way process should be applied to medical devices such as stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and thermometers. This means that they should be single use where possible and disposed of after contact with a patient. As medical devices, bedpans should also be disposed of after use.

For centres which usually wash bedpans between patients, single-use alternatives could be used in the interim. These could be disposed after use, but this can cause problems such as smells, overfilling and infection control risks in the event of breakages. Bedpan macerators are available as rental options for short-medium term use, and are a good option for care homes wishing to provide best-practice infection control in their centres.

We have been informed by Haigh Engineering that they have availability of rental and purchase options for care homes.


World Health Organisation. Interim Guidance: “Infection prevention and control during health care when COVID-19 is suspected”. 19 March 2020.

Gov UK Guidance, “Transmission characteristics and principles of infection prevention and control”, updated 6 April 2020.