What Is a Commode Chair?
The commode chair is a portable toilet supported by four legs with rubberized feet, and armrests with handgrips to help older people or those with limited mobility. These chairs are considered to be Durable Medical Equipment and are covered under Medicare Part B.
Main Uses of Commode Chairs
Commode chairs are used by the elderly and extremely infirm, who suffer from extreme mobility issues, and have difficulty getting to the bathroom.
They’re not designed for comfort, but rather, for functionality and convenience, giving the people who use them more control over their lives and preserve dignity by minimizing accidents.
Types of Commode Chairs
There are four types of commode chairs. All of them are functionally similar and share the majority of their features in common. Regardless of the type of commode chair, they all share several features in common, including:
- A lightweight, durable frame, most commonly hollow steel tubing.
- Rubberized feet, to prevent skidding.
- A toilet seat, with a removable collection receptacle beneath for easy emptying.
- Armrests, with some type of handgrip.
We’ll note the primary differences of each type below:
- Bedside Commode Chair – The most basic variant. They are lightweight and portable.
- Transfer Commode Chair – The fundamental difference between this variant and the basic Bedside Commode chair is the fact that one or both of the arms are designed so that they can be pivoted out of the way to make moving from the bed to the chair easier.
- Over-the-Toilet Commode Chair – This variant does not have a removable collection receptacle and features four wheels with locking mechanisms. They’re designed so they can be wheeled over the toilet, locked into position, and used, providing additional support for the user.
- Shower Commode Chair – Made with water-resistant materials, and typically feature two or four wheels with locking mechanisms to facilitate ease of movement in and out of the shower.
These are often referred to as multi-purpose commode chairs because they typically incorporate all of the features of all the models mentioned above.
Origin and History of the Commode Chair
The modern commode chair traces its origins to the close stool, which was a type of portable toilet used in the middle ages, and remained popular until the invention of the flush toilet.
These were essentially wood cabinets on four legs, with a chair back, armrests, and a closeable toilet lid. The chamber pot inside the cabinet could be accessed via a hinged door on the side and emptied as needed.
By the 19th century, these had morphed into “Thunderboxes.” They lost the arms, legs, and chair back, becoming essentially stools with a toilet lid on top and a chamber pot inside the stool, again, accessed via a hinged door on one side.
These were adopted by the medical profession in scaled down form, starting with the simple bedpan, inspired by the chamber pot, and eventually morphing into the various types of commode chairs we see today.