Skip to content
Australia's Leading Mobility Aid Supplier
A Simple Guide to Choosing Commode Chairs for the Elderly or Disabled

A Simple Guide to Choosing Commode Chairs for the Elderly or Disabled

If you are looking to buy a commode but don’t know where to begin then this article is for you. It can be quite confusing when looking at all the different types of commodes and seeing all of the different variations. It’s important that you get a commode that meets the needs of the person who will be using it.

Our blog post this week is a simple guide to commodes featuring different types, their features and benefits and what would be the most suitable choice for different needs.

Let’s start by running through the different types of commodes:

Portable Commodes

These commodes usually have wheels on and are designed to be moved around.

They are designed with 4 wheels and a handle at the back to make for easy movement.

The wheels have locks on them so it makes them nice and secure when they need fixed in place. Portable commodes are typically designed for use in a care environment or to be manoeuvred by a carer when the user cannot.

Portable commodes are great in care environments if there are multiple users, which require the convenience of a commode and if their mobility levels are poor and make quick transfer to a bathroom difficult.

At Breeze Mobility we offer a range of different portable / shower commodes from Australia's leading brands.

The seat can double as a shower chair and a wheelchair – some options will come with foot plates for safe transfers.

Static Commodes

As the name suggests, these commodes typically do not move and will be placed in a designated area.

On the legs of the static commode there will be 4 non slip ferrules which make for a stable secure base. The chair can be moved but it will need to be carried. A static commode provides a stable, lightweight option for a commode. It can also double up as a seat when the cover is placed upon it.

You can view our range of Bedside commodes here. Our most popular product is the Basketweave Commode which is an attractive and well-designed chair that looks great in the bedroom or any room in the house.

Static commodes are lightweight and can be stacked upon each other once the pan is removed.

Bariatric / Heavy Duty Commodes

These are larger than an average commode to accommodate a bigger user. The main features of these commodes are a wider and deeper seated area.

Frames will typically be able to withstand a larger weight which is expected with bariatric people. Standard commodes will have a weight limit and may not be able to fit or withstand a larger user. An example would be this product from Safety and Mobility.

It is important for the user not to feel confined by their commode – so the bariatric commode will typically have plenty of room so that they are not confined and will also have typically lower arms for easy transfer.

What to look for in a Commode and why you would you need to buy one?

There are many reasons why you would consider buying a commode – they have many uses but for many different reasons also.

To break things down to its simplest form – a commode is to be used as a secondary toilet when someone cannot use the bathroom easily.

This could be for someone who has just had surgery and their mobility is compromised. People who live in care environments who aren’t capable of independent, quality mobility. Users who have have increased care needs at home and have adapted living circumstances may find a commode useful.

Considering all of these points about who would need a commode, it’s important to mention all of the reasons and benefits to having a commode which include:

  • Their convenience will provide the user with confidence and independence
  • Reduce anxiety about having to go to the toilet if this is a difficult task due to mobility/disability.
  • Commodes reduce the risk of falls as it brings the toilet top the user in a safer way than potentially having a more complex transfer to a standard toilet.
  • Commodes can provide increased comfort and stability that a normal toilet cannot – this is due to the frame which surrounds it.
  • Commodes make caregiving easier because it reduces difficult transfers and can often result in less effort / strain on their bodies.
  • Cost efficient – if home living or property conversion is needed to accommodate care needs due to toileting reasons, a commode is a much cheaper option and less disruption than adapting a building.

Disadvantages of a commode

Yes there are many benefits to having a commode but there as always with anything some downsides. Make sure you consider these before buying a commode.

  • A full pan can be very difficult to carry – ensure that you empty this regularly to avoid any accidents or overstrain when moving it.
  • There is a lack of privacy if you need help on and off the commode – obviously this is person dependent and situation dependent however it is something to consider.
  • Cleaning a commode can take time to ensure it is done thoroughly – this is due to it’s design and how each part fits together, consider this if the commode is to be used between multiple users.

Consider these important points before buying a commode

In the blog so far we have outlined the types of commode chairs you can get, reasons why you would buy one and also some downsides.

Before buying make sure you check these important points to ensure you get the right one for you or someone else’s needs.

What is the maximum weight capacity that the commode can hold – do you need a standard size or will it need to be bariatric. Most commodes will tell you their maximum load they are capable of taking. Following on from weight is the width of the chair – ensure this is the right size for accessibility and comfort.

Do you need a commode with wheels? If you plan on using the commode as a shower chair or moving it regularly then consider wheels for ease of transport. Does the chair feature stationary or removable foot plates? Is the person using them likely to need these? Think about the user again and if they need a seatbelt for when being transported.

What is the quality of the chair – is it a plastic, aluminium or stainless steel – consider how much it will be used to make a decision on this one.

Does the chair have an adjustable height, armrests or backrest? These are all features that are personal to the user depending on their needs.

In conclusion our simple guide has all the basics and more covered in regard to what you need to check for before considering a commode.

If you need any further guidance with this subject, we have a team of experts who you can contact via this link who can provide information on commodes and answer any queries you may have.

Previous article 6 Wheelchair Accessories to Improve Comfort, Safety and Convenience
Next article The Top 6 Benefits of Medical Sheepskin