More falls occur in the bathroom than almost any other room in a house so bathroom safety is essential for people of all ages, but people with mobility issues (whether from a disability, illness, or surgery) and the elderly are especially at risk of falling in the bathroom. Commode chairs (and accessories) help provide bathroom safety and fall prevention.
Who Benefits From Use of a Commode Chair?
For some people walking to the bathroom isn't a problem, but arthritis, balance problems, or joint issues make lowering to or raising from the toilet seat a challenge. Illness, disability, aging, or surgery can leave a person too weak or unable to walk the distance from the bed to the bathroom as often as needed throughout the day. Depending on the level of body weakness (or balance issues), making trips to the bathroom may actually be dangerous with the increased risk of falls in the bathroom. Depending on the layout of the home, a person may be confined to a floor of the home which doesn't have a bathroom (and they can't navigate stairs).
Commode chairs can help prevent the risk of falls to and from the bathroom, or in the bathroom itself.
Types of Commode Chairs
Commode chairs are designed to be used in the bedroom, bathroom, or shower; there are different types of commode chairs to accommodate a range of needs.
Bedside commode chair: What most people know of as a "commode chair" are stand-alone commodes and may also be referred to as a "basic unit."
Drop arm commode: A drop arm commode simply means the arms of the commode chair fold down. The folding arms are one of the basic styles of a stand-alone commode chair. The Nova Drop Arm Commode is a popular commode chair among customers.
Bariatric commodes: Another type of stand-alone toilet chair are bariatric commodes, such as the Drive Deluxe Bariatric Commode, which are designed to support people who weigh over 300 pounds. Often commode chairs will combine two or more features into the same product, as is the case with the Invacare Bariatric Drop Arm Commode.
Shower commode chairs: Particularly helpful for efficient hygiene, these commodes are for use in the shower and are constructed from materials which hold up well in that environment (including plastic and rust-proof metals).
Commode chairs with wheels: These may also be referred to as "transfer chair commodes" and the wheels provide easy transport from the bedroom to the bathroom. Some wheeled commode chairs can be wheeled directly over the existing toilet in the bathroom, or can be wheeled directly into the shower to function as a shower commode.
Over the toilet commode chair: Not to be confused with elevated toilet seats, an over the toilet commode chair utilizes the same basic commode chair style fit over the existing toilet in the bathroom. Many commode chairs feature a removable bucket so the chair can be used as a bedside commode with the bucket, or as an over the toilet commode when the bucket is removed. The Medline 3 in 1 Commode can be used as a bedside commode, a raised toilet seat, and a toilet safety frame. Such commodes are ideal for someone who only needs a commode temporarily (as in the case of post-surgery) so as strength and mobility is regained, the commode changes to best fit their current needs.
Combination commode chairs: By now it is obvious many commode chairs combine different features for products with increased versatility. A commode chair may offer drop arms, wheels, and support for bariatric patients all in the same product.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Commode Chair
The first consideration is to figure out how the commode chair will be used. Will it be used next to a bed to reduce trips to and from the bathroom? Will it be used as the transportation to and from the bathroom? Is a taller toilet seat needed to make using the existing bathroom toilet easier?
Once you know the functions you'll need the commode chair to address, you can look at the features you'll want to have included. Additional features you'll want to consider:
You'll also want to consider commode chair accessories to make a caregiver's job easier, such as a Commode Splash Guard, Carex Disposable Commode Liners, or Sani-Bag+ Commode Liner.
If you are still unsure what commode chair would be best, feel free to call 1-800-377-8033 and talk to a friendly, knowledgeable customer service counselor. There are a variety of bedside commodes, shower commodes, and over the toilet commodes to assist people suffering from numerous mobility issues with their bathroom needs while also providing bath safety and fall prevention.