Bedside commodes, or commode chairs, are toilet chairs not connected to a plumbing system. These medical devices are often used for those who are disabled, bedridden, or otherwise unable to get to the bathroom in time when nature calls. Here are four things you should know when looking for a commode chair.
How Agility Affects Selection
There are four main types of bedside commodes: traditional fixed arm, bench style, bariatric, cantilever drop-arm and 3-in-1 commodes. Someone who lacks use of their legs could use a bench style commode or cantilever drop arm commode but not the other types.
Fixed-arm commodes are suitable for those who can get into it on their own but wouldn’t be able to shuffle to the bathroom fast enough to use those facilities. For someone who relies on a caregiver to go to the bathroom, a bench style commode, cantilever drop-arm commode or 3-in-1 model are the best options. If the person will only use it bedside, the bench style commode, traditional two arm commode, and drop-arm commodes are all suitable.
If you don’t know which design is right for you or your loved one, consult with an occupational therapist who can recommend the right type of commode chair for your particular situation.
The Physical Dimensions that Matter
Ensure that the bedside commode can support the user. There’s no point in buying a commode toilet with a weight limit of 300 pounds for a patient who weighs 400 pounds. (Bariatric models are designed for heavier individuals, some supporting up to 1,000 pounds.) Nor would you want to buy a commode chair that isn’t wide enough for the intended user.
Another factor to consider is the place it will be used. Consider how large the commode chair is relative to the space you have. If you want to be able to wheel it or the person on it into the bathroom, the chair needs to be narrow enough to fit through the doorway. If you’re going to use a multi-functional commode as a shower chair, ensure that it fits in the shower or tub.
Desired Usage versus Design
The 3-in-1 commode chair is probably the most versatile since it could be used as the patient’s bedside commode, set over a standard toilet to aid someone who could otherwise use the conventional toilet, and it also works as a bath chair.
If you want an all-in-one model, you’re going to want to look at commodes with wheels. Don’t use a chair commode in the shower that isn’t designed for use in the shower. It will rust and won’t provide the stability and support the user needs.
If the commode chair may be used by multiple people or you aren’t certain of the right dimensions, you may want to select a commode with adjustable height and width. An adjustable height commode is also desirable if someone is recovering from back or knee surgery, since you can raise the height to a comfortable level.
Portable commodes range in price anywhere from a hundred to a thousand dollars. Simple chairs and benches are the cheapest option. At the higher end, you can find well-padded three in one portable commodes with splash guards, cantilever arms, padding, and a removable back rest.
A portable commode is a life-changing amenity, offering dignity and independence. They are an under-appreciated medical aid until the alternative is sprinting to the loved one’s room to try to get them to the bathroom in time.