Advice for Care and Nursing Homes Advice for Care and Nursing Homes

Advice for Care and Nursing Homes

DDC Dolphin are asked regularly for their advice on what equipment Care and Nursing Homes should have in their sluice room and also how many sluice rooms they need.  Although the answer mainly depends on what is recommended by your local Care Quality Commission Inspector, there are a number of general rules which apply.

A typical sluice room will contain the following equipment:-

Bedpan washer if you use reusable commode pots/bedpans

Pulp product Macerator if you use single use disposable commode pots/bedpans

Incontinence pad Macerator

Hopper and/or janitorial unit

Hand wash basin near the exit door

Storage cupboard and/or shelving

Wall rack with drip tray

Work surface

Clinical waste and Sharps bins

Care Homes will mostly require less equipment than Nursing Homes, due to the level of care of their residents.  However, with the greater awareness of infection control and the effects of cross contamination, all Homes should be looking toward the best options to avoid the transmission of Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs).

The general recommendation is that each floor of your Home has a sluice room; this is to avoid soiled items being carried up and down stairs, increasing the risk of cross contamination.  Also, as a typical calculation, 1 machine will cater for approximately 15 residents.

It is very important that your sluice room is kept tidy and clean, which will make it a more hygienic area.  Many sluice rooms are used as general storage areas, which causes problems not only from a health and safety point of view, but also critically for ensuring effective infection control.


If your Home uses reusable commode pots/bedpans, each sluice room will require some form of bedpan washer, either a manual or automatic system.  Manual systems comprise of stainless steel hoppers, which are effectively a sink unit with flushing facilities, where commode pots/bedpans can be manually emptied, rinsed and the contents flushed away.  The disadvantages of this system are fairly obvious, apart from this being a very unpleasant task for nursing staff/carers, this method is particularly unhygienic and potentially disastrous in respect of the likelihood of cross infection between patients and also staff.  Hoppers still have a role to play in a well designed sluice room.  They can be used to empty buckets and receptacles, can flush away anything normally disposed of in a toilet and some have useful inbuilt sinks and work surfaces.

The alternative to a manual system is an automatic washer disinfector.  This machine works in a similar way to a dish washer, but here commode pots/bedpans are positioned into the machines chamber, where they are washed and thoroughly disinfected using steam.  This system must comply with a British Standard, which specifies that the commode pots/bedpans are heated to 80°C and held at this temperature for a minimum of 1 minute.  DDC Dolphin’s Panamatic range of washer disinfectors are the only completely hands-free washers on the market.  The lid is opened by pressing a foot plate and the cycle is starting by using a hand operated sensor, making it ideal for the avoidance of cross contamination.  The lid is also impregnated with patented antimicrobial Microbesafe silver nanotechnology.

Cleaning and disinfecting of reusable items in a bedpan washer is a widely used practice in many Care and Nursing Homes as the machine can clean an extensive range of products, including personal wash bowls, raised toilet seat extensions, catheter jugs and many other commonly used items.  Also, unlike single use bedpans macerator systems, there is less storage space required in the Home for the stock of pulp items.


Some Homes are now starting to use disposable commode pots/bedpans as an alternative to reusable ones.  After use these can either be disposed of in your yellow waste bags, or in a macerator which chops up the pulp item and its contents into a fine slurry, depositing it into the sewage system.


DDC Dolphin’s Pulpmatic range of macerators include the same completely hands-free technology as our Panamatic range.  The main advantages of a macerator system over a bedpan washing system is that contamination is greatly reduced as patient to patient cross infection is avoided.  Maceration is also more efficient as it saves staff time; the machine can be loaded and left to finish its cycle, allowing staff to continue with other duties.


In Homes where many of the residents use incontinence products, yellow waste bag collection costs can be very high.  An alternative would be an incontinence product Macerator.  This machine works in a similar way to the pulp product macerator, where the pad is chopped into small pieces and deposited into the sewage system.

DDC Dolphin’s Incomatic range of macerators uses the same completely hands-free technology as our other ranges.  This system is the most hygienic way of disposing of incontinence pads and nappies quickly and efficiently, avoiding piles of badly smelling yellow waste bags awaiting collection. This process also comes recommended by recent Government guidelines aimed at reducing landfill disposal.

Other equipment generally required in a sluice room includes stainless steel sinks, janitorial units, work surfaces, cupboards, wall racks and shelving.  DDC Dolphin offers a full range of ancillary equipment in our Hygenex range.

DDC Dolphin’s design services offer Homes professional advice to suit their own individual needs.  Sluice rooms within Homes can range from large sluice only rooms, to shared laundry and sluice rooms, to converted toilets.  Our Design Services are dedicated to your particular requirements, making the most of the space available, promoting not only the best ergonomic design, but also helping to avoid cross contamination and complying with infection control guidelines.

To take advantage of this unique opportunity, please call our team on 01202 731555 or email