It’s not a decision many of us will face in our life time but for those in infection control it could be a tricky one.

When choosing your facilities method of dealing with human waste disposal you need all the information you can get. You need to be sure whatever method you choose will effectively prevent the spread of infection. You also need to ensure you’re meeting any standards set by your country’s health service.

There are a variety of factors that come into play when making this decision. Safety, space, economic, environmental and so forth!

If you don’t choose a safe solution, the risks posed to your staff and patients could be catastrophic. Which everybody wants to avoid.

So, it’s important you have the right information and weigh up the pros and cons to make the best decision. That’s where this blog will try to help.

So, let’s weigh the pros and cons of Bedpan washers and Pulp Macerators.

The Differences

First, it’s important to understand the differences between these two options. Both solutions will have a bigger impact on how your facility operates.

So, let’s start with Bedpan washers. Bedpan washers disinfect reusable utensils. Once cleaned these utensils re-enter circulation after the disinfection cycle is finished. Using a bedpan washer disinfector ensures all harmful microbes on the bedpan are killed.

Whereas Pulp Macerators use single-use recyclable pulp utensils rather than reusable bedpans.

This is where the first key difference comes into play. Will your facility use reusable or single use? What would patients prefer? What will cost more or less in the long run? These are all questions you will need to consider.

These single-use utensils and their contents are disposed of via a pulp macerator.  This machine slices the pulp bedpan and its contents into a super-fine slurry. This can then be flushed through pipes and into your normal drainage system.

Because pulp macerators go through a disposal process it could be argued this reduces risk. One the utensil has been placed into the chamber clinicians do not have to handle anything again. Thus, minimising risk.

However, it’s important to consider the ongoing cost as those utensils need to be replaced.

The only real second difference to be aware of is the different in cycles.  The maceration cycle is shorter than a bedpan washer disinfection cycle. However, this is only by a few minutes.

Bedpan Washers

Many medical institutions will use reusable bedpans for efficiency and patient comfort. They are the choice of many institutions who value its one-off cost.

Bedpan washer disinfectors will ensure you’re keeping on top of infection control and no comprises are made.

There are many benefits to using Bedpan washers in your facility. So, let’s get straight into some you should consider.

Pros

Firstly, they are able to cope with high volumes of utensils, all of which will be completely disinfected. This makes them a suitable solution to the demands of busy wards.

You’re most likely also thinking from a budget point of view. A bedpan washer disinfector is a one-off cost in the machine itself, with very limited consumables to invest in after. This should allow you to effectively managed and forecast running costs.

An extra benefit, especially compared to macerators is the options available in designs. Bedpan washers can come as wall-mounted, fitted under worktops or as part of a built-in unit. So, whatever you set up is a bedpan washer should be able to fit right in.

Another added benefit is that patients tend to prefer plastic or metal bedpans over pulp.

Cons

  • Initial purchase cost
  • Higher running costs compared to macerators
  • Environmental considerations
  • Longer cycles compared to macerators

Pulp Macerators 

These are easily the best alternative to bedpan washers.

Pros

As we hinted above there could be a time saving using his method. Disposal cycles only last between one and two minutes. Bedpan washer take around 10 minutes. This could be a big time saving over time and in busy clinics.

You’ll also find Macerators can generally handle processing more items at once compared to bedpan washers.

There may be a time when you go to use the machine but find it in use. However, you won’t have to wait long for it to be finished and you should never have to leave bedpans on the side.

Macerators also use less energy, so are cheaper to run due to water not needing to be heated.

Cons

  •  Produce more waste than bedpan washers
  •  More likely to block than bedpan washers due to the build-up of pulp and waste
  •  Can be overloaded causing blockages and equipment failure.
  •  Majority of designs are top loading. This means that they can occupy quite a lot space and limit where they can be put.

Conclusion

So, there you go, a lot to think about when deciding between these two infection control options. Both have their pros and cons.

If you have any questions that are left unanswered please get in touch with us today and we will be happy to advise.