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What is an Emesis Basin?

An emesis basin is a kidney-shaped receptacle designed to catch vomit or medical waste, ensuring hygiene and comfort during patient care. Its ergonomic shape fits snugly against the body, making it indispensable in healthcare settings. Curious about its varied uses and importance in medical practices? Discover the pivotal role of this simple yet vital tool in our next segment. How might it benefit you or your loved ones?
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Emesis means getting sick to the stomach and or vomiting, and there are many other more colorful terms to describe this activity. In home settings, if people are lucky and reach the toilet, they typically will vomit into the toilet or perhaps into a sink. When unlucky, a towel, a wastebasket, or even the floor will do, as many people, especially young children, demonstrate on a regular basis. In medical settings one way to prevent these accidents to a degree is to provide a person who is nauseous with an emesis basin, a small bowl, often called “kidney shaped” due to its contours, which can collect vomit if needed.

In settings where medical care is provided, the emesis basin may be relatively small in size and is plastic. They usually aren’t recycled and are instead discarded or sent home with patients if not used. The small size really doesn’t make much sense, and the curve of the bowl could make it more difficult to accurately vomit without covering the self or the surroundings. The typical basin holds about seven to nine ounces (.21-.27 liters), which may not be adequate if a large volume of vomiting occurs at once. There are some larger stainless steel bowls that have greater capacity and can be sterilized and recycled as needed.

Emesis basins are not used in more serious instances when a person may want to stay near a toilet when vomiting.
Emesis basins are not used in more serious instances when a person may want to stay near a toilet when vomiting.

Given the impracticality of the emesis basin for certain vomiting needs, it’s no wonder that sometimes they’re not used and patients may be handed something larger, or assisted to a toilet or sink if they feel nauseous. Especially in hospitals or in ambulance settings, vomit may be significant of certain forms of illnesses and it might need to be retained and analyzed by medical workers. Other medical supplies may be easier for emesis collection, while preventing mess.

An emesis basin may be used when irrigating scrapes and other minor wounds.
An emesis basin may be used when irrigating scrapes and other minor wounds.

This does not mean that the emesis basin is useless and, in fact, these bowls get used frequently for other medical things. They are helpful if people need to expectorate frequently, as from serious coughing. Another way they get used is when cleaning and irrigating small wounds. Alternately, if people are having wax cleaned from their ears with rinsing, a basin may be held up to the ear to catch wax and fluid as it leaves the ear canal. Sometimes doctors or nurses will even carry regular shots like immunizations in an emesis basin.

Ambulance workers may use an emesis basin if a patient's vomit needs to be retained for analysis.
Ambulance workers may use an emesis basin if a patient's vomit needs to be retained for analysis.

One of the reasons small plastic emesis basins are used so often is because they’re very inexpensive. In bulk sales, a single basin costs about 20 cents of a US Dollar (USD) or less. People are often offered these to take home after being in the hospital, and provided they haven’t been used for their intended purpose, many folks are happy to take one home. If folks can get past the name, these bowls are good for growing seedlings, as bath toys, holding cosmetics, or a variety of other purposes.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...

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    • Emesis basins are not used in more serious instances when a person may want to stay near a toilet when vomiting.
      By: Johan Lenell
      Emesis basins are not used in more serious instances when a person may want to stay near a toilet when vomiting.
    • An emesis basin may be used when irrigating scrapes and other minor wounds.
      By: WideAwake
      An emesis basin may be used when irrigating scrapes and other minor wounds.
    • Ambulance workers may use an emesis basin if a patient's vomit needs to be retained for analysis.
      By: CandyBox Images
      Ambulance workers may use an emesis basin if a patient's vomit needs to be retained for analysis.