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Can A 3-In-1 Commode Be Used As A shower Chair ?

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As a caregiver we are often looking at ways of saving money and trying to do as many jobs as we can with the materials we have, and I know that the following question is one I have asked myself.

3 in 1 commodes which are waterproof can be used as a shower chair, but those which are not waterproof should not be used in the shower. 
 

What is a 3-in-1 commode ?

3 in 1 bedside commode

A 3-in-1 commode is a type of static bedside commode which is designed for 3 purposes –

 

  • as a bedside commode
  • as a raised toilet seat
  • as a toilet safety frame around a conventional toilet

 

A 3 in 1 commode was not designed to be used as a shower chair, and as such most will have parts in them, if not the frame, which will suffer from contact with water, causing them to rust, and could cause accidents.

There are spring-loaded buttons on the legs, the frame itself and all the screws and little nuts and bolts, if they are steel or painted steel, they may rust and break.

So, while, as I said, a 3 in 1 commode is perfectly solid and can be sat on in a shower, the effects of water could ruin it, and make it dangerous to use.

For clarity, a 3 in 1 commode is not a simple folding commode, which unfolds like a standard folding chair.

The difference between a 3 in 1 commode and these simple folding bedside commodes, is that the simple folding bedside commodes can’t be used as either a raised toilet seat, or as a toilet safety frame, because of the way they are built.

Don’t try to use the simple folding commodes either as shower chairs, as they may be full of parts which rust in water.

To find out more about 3-in-1 commodes, and what you can and can’t do with them, here’s another article,  “What Is A 3-in-1 Commode ? And What Is It Used For ?”

What can you use as a shower chair ?

 

For an elderly loved one, your best options for a shower chair are –

a proper shower chair, if you want a static chair which will does not have wheels or a commode under it,

or

a static shower commode chair, of which there are only a few models,

or

if you want a commode and a shower chair with wheels, then you should consider a shower transport commode chair

Shower chairs

 

Shower chairs are waterproof chairs, made expressly for the shower, and to help people who have problems with standing while they shower.

The basic types of shower chair are –

 

  • a standard aluminum chair with a frame, seat and back rest
  • a fold-down shower seat which is attached to the wall and folds down
  • a seat with four legs but with no back rest
  • a folding seat with legs but no back rest
  • a transfer bench shower seat – these are wider and intended for wheelchair users so that they may slide over more easily

 

The shower chairs are all made in waterproof materials to protect against corrosion.

Some models may have a padded seat, some may be wider, and all will take different weight capacities.

 

Some examples of shower chairs and seats are –

 

  • 250 lb – Probasics bath chair with back, Prod. No. BSCWB
  • 300 lb – Lumex padded bath chair, Prod. No. 7944KD
  • 330 lb – Drive folding bath chair, Prod. No. 12486
  • 350 lb – Lumex bath chair with back, Prod. No. 7921KD
  • 450 lb – Drive swivelbath stool w/ rotating seat, Prod. No. RTL12061

 

There are bariatric seats for larger individuals, which support far greater weight.

Some examples of bariatric shower chairs are –

  • 500 lb – Drive heavy duty bath chair with back, Prod. No. 12021KD
  • 500 lb – Nova heavy duty bath chair with back, Prod. No. 9131-R
  • 500 lb – Probasics bariatric shower chair with back, Prod. No. BSBCWB
  • 600 lb – Lumex bariatric bath chair with back, Prod. No. 7939A

 

To find out more about bedside commode weight limits before you buy one, you can refer to my article, “Bedside Commode Weight Capacity: A Guide With Over 140 Examples and illustrations”.

    Shower commode chairs

     

    The four main types of bedside commodes, or commode chairs, are –

     

    • static bedside/portable commodes (including 3 in 1 commodes)
    • static drop arm bedside commodes
    • transport or rolling bedside commodes (with wheels)
    • combination shower chair, transport chair and bedside commodes (with wheels)

    Static shower commode chairs

    Static shower commode chair

    Static shower commode chairs are bedside commodes without wheels which can be placed in the shower and used as a shower chair.

    The uses of these commodes are twofold –

     

    • as a shower chair
    • as a bedside commode

     

    Unlike the 3 in 1 bedside commode, these cannot be used over the toilet as a 3 in 1 commode, or as a toilet safety rail.

    These are not bariatric models and have a lightweight iodized aluminum frame to protect them from water.

    Examples of static shower commode chairs –

     

    300 lb – Lumex padded bedside commode bath and shower chair, Prod. No. 7947KD

    300 lb –  Platinum Health UltraCommode foldable commode and shower chair, Prod. No. —

     

    Shower transport commodes chairs

     

    These can be wheeled into the shower and have been specifically designed for this to be totally waterproof and corrosion resistant.

    Of course, if you have a shower with a lip they won’t go in, so that aspect would be totally redundant, unless they have a larger rear set of wheels, and if the shower is big enough.

    The shower transport commode can be used as –

     

    • a shower chair
    • a transport chair
    • a commode
    • some can also be used over the toilet as a raised seat, but you do have to check the height of these, as not all are height adjustable

     

    As with transfer commodes, always remember to lock the wheels when using it in a static position.

    The two types of shower transport commode chair

     

    Shower transport commode chairs, come in two types

     

    • Attendant shower transport commode chairs with smaller wheels, which requires someone to push you
    • Self-propelled shower transport commode chairs with larger wheelchair sized wheels, which propelled by the use using the large back wheels as with a manual wheelchair

     

    Attendant Shower Transport Commode Chair

     

    The Attendant shower transport commode chair, as with the basic transport commode chair, can come with –

     

    • 4 equally sized wheels between 3 – 8 inches in diameter, or
    • two wheels at the back which are typically 8 – 12 inches, and two smaller wheels at the front

    Attendant shower transport commode chair with four equally sized wheels

    Self-propelled shower transport commode chair

     

    Examples of Attendant shower transport commode chairs with 4 equally sized wheels, 3 – 8 inches –

     

    • 250 lb – Nova rolling commode shower chair, Prod. No. 8800
    • 250 lb – Nova padded commode shower chair w/ wheels, Prod. No. 8801
    • 250 lb – Tuffcare padded transport commode shower chair w/ wheels, Prod. No. S800
    • 286 lb – Healthline, Ezee Life commode shower chair, Prod. No. 150
    • 300 lb – Drive Medical padded commode shower chair w/ wheels, Prod. No.11114-1
    • 385 lb –  Mor Medical euro deluxe commode shower chair w/ 4″ casters, Prod. No. MD-118-4TL

    Examples of Attendant shower transport commode chairs with larger rear wheels, 8 – 12 inches

     

    • 230 lb – OUUCL-OT Lightweight transport shower commode chair -, Prod. No.–
    • 250 lb – Xiao Zhu De Dian STB Multi function transport shower commode chair, Prod. No.–
    • 265 lb – JFGUOYA transport shower commode chair, Prod. No.–
    • 330 lb – Nurth 4 in 1 transport shower commode chair, Prod. No.–
    • 330 lb – Platinum Health Baltic professional transport shower commode chair, Prod. No.–
    • 550 lb- JFGUOYA transport shower commode chair, Prod. No.–

     

    Self-propelled Shower Transport Commode Chair

     

    Self-propelled shower transport commode chairs vary from the attendant models only with respect to the back wheel, i.e. braking and propulsion mechanisms involved with the back wheelchair wheel.

    They are made of the same materials, and come with all the different add-ons and options that you get with the attendant models.

    You can use Self-propelled shower transport commode chairs as –

     

    • shower chairs
    • bedside commodes
    • self-propelled and attendant transport commodes (a person can still help push the user if required)
    • some models can be used as raised toilet seats over a conventional toilet, but you must clear this with the seller

     

    Some models have a fixed height which is high enough to clear a toilet bowl, and other models have adjustable legs, but you need to check this with the height of your toilet if you intend to use the commode over the toilet.

     

    Self-propelled shower transport chair

     

    Examples of Self-propelled shower transport commode chairs with wheelchair wheels-

     

    • 250 lb – Everest & Jennings shower transport commode chair w/ wheelchair wheels, Prod. No. 12022010
    • 275 lb – Drive Medical aluminum rehab commode shower chair w/ 24″ wheels, Prod. No. NRS185006
    • 300 lb – Showerbuddy Roll-inBuddy Solo, shower commode wheelchair, prod. no. SB6w
    • 300 lb – Nuprodx Multichair Ultra narrow shower commode wheelchair (drop arms optional), Prod. No. 4020RX
    • 330 lb – Invacare Aquatec Ocean SP shower/ transport bedside commode w/ wheelcahir wheels, Prod. No. INV-OCEANSP
    • 385 lb – Healthline EZee Life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair, Prod. No. 185-24

     

    To find out more about different types of bedside commodes with wheels, you can read my article –

    “What Are The Types Of Commode Chair With Wheels ? How to Make The Right Choice ?”

    Features which vary by model

     

    The shower transport commode chairs may have –

     

    • drop arms
    • different types of seat
    • footrests
    • adjustable height legs
    • padding

     

    And as with all other types of commodes, there are models for all different sizes of individual.

     

    Materials

     

    I have already mentioned the fact that some 3-in-1 commodes are made from steel, and that this can cause problems due to it being corrosive in water.

    The frames of shower transport commodes, and the one static shower commode, I have found can be in –

     

    • steel which has been painted to protect it
    • stainless steel, which is non-corrosive
    • a special medical grade PVC
    • aluminum

     

    Frames for larger individuals are generally made from –

     

    • steel
    • double tubed aluminum
    • PVC with a number of extra casters across their width

     

    The shower commodes for larger individuals are called bariatric or heavy duty, and it will just be put at the start of the name – a few examples of these are –

     

    435 lb – Mor Medical New Era PVC bariatric 26″ wide rolling commode shower chair without insert, Prod. No. DNE-126-4TWL

    440 lb – Rebotec Dallas bariatric shower commode chair, Prod. No. TRE-359

    440 lb – Healthline EZee Life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair, Prod. No. 186-24

    450 lb – Tuffcare Heavy duty rolling shower commode chair, Prod. No. S950

     

    Seats

     

    There are a variety of types of seat that you will find with the different models of commode in particular.

    You will find –

     

    • hard seats
    • padded seats
    • padded seats with a front opening
    • padded seats with a back opening

     

    The seats with openings are for individuals who are a little more independent and like to clean themselves, and the openings allow them to do so while they are still seated.

    If you are buying online, you will find, on the models which cost a little more, that they will offer menus with all the options for customizing the commode chair.

    Drop arms

     

    Drop arms are the opposite to fixed armrests, and will either swing up or down to move them out of the way. Some can be removed completely.

    Some models of commode have the drop arm on one side only, and give the option of picking which side, so do pay attention to that.

    The idea is to –

     

    • give a caregiver access to the user from the side – for cleaning purpose usually
    • or to let the user exit the chair from the side onto a low bed, or a wheelchair

     

    Drop arms can be found on lots of models of 3 in 1 commodes, and on many models of shower transport commode chairs.

    It will be noted in the product specifications if a commode has them, as they are one of the main features required by many users.

    There are also static drop arm commodes which exist as well which can be use as –

     

    • bedside commodes
    • raised toilet seats
    • toilet safety frame

     

    Weight capacity

     

    You will find that bedside commodes have a range of weight capacities from 220 lb to 1500 lb in the strongest 4 models of bariatric commodes.

    With shower transport commode chairs, this is greatly reduced from 250 lb to the top weight capacity of 750 lb.

    Here are the strongest of the shower transport commode chairs –

    750 lb ConvaQuip bariatric rehab shower rolling commode chair w/ 26″ wide seat, Prod. No. 1326P-24

    750 lb ConvaQuip bariatric rehab shower rolling commode chair w/ 28″ wide seat, Prod. No. 1328P-24

    750 lb – Gendron bariatric mobile shower chair w/ 26″ wide seat, Prod. No. GDN-5226

    750 lb – Gendron bariatric mobile shower chair w/ 28″ wide seat, Prod. No. GDN-5228

     

    Width

     

    Many models will come in a variety of widths, and you can add these to the customization when you are ordering your commode.

    The models will either go by their width, or they will be called –

     

    • narrow
    • standard
    • wide
    • extra wide

    Adjustable height

     

    This is very important if you wish to be able to use the shower commode over the toilet.

    Not all will have adjustable height, and a lot come with a fixed height which is intended to be higher than a toilet bowl, but it’s prudent to check the height of the rim of your toilet bowl from the floor.

    There are not many shower transport commode chairs that I found which have adjustable height, but here are some examples –

     

    • Drive Aluminum Rehab commode shower chair 24″ wheels, Prod. No. NRS185006
    • Healthline EZee Life commode shower wheelchair, Prod. No.180-24
    • Healthline EZee Life commode shower wheelchair, Prod. No.150-22

     

    To find out about different sized bedside commodes, you can check my article “Do Bedside Commodes Come In Different Sizes ?”.
     

    How to set up a 3-in-1 commode over a toilet ?

     

    Using a 3 in 1 commode as a raised toilet seat is an excellent option, in particular if your elderly loved ones are frail or suffer with mobility issues.

    The large armrests make it easy to grab a hold of when sitting and standing, there is no wobbling, and they can’t, heaven forbid it, come off the toilet as they are not attached to it.

    Just prior to my elderly mom having hip surgery, some 23 months ago, we had tried out a few different raised toilet seats, and these didn’t give her any confidence.

    We purchased, instead, a 3 in 1 bedside commode which she has used it ever since.

    She loves it, and she feels much safer than with any type of raised toilet seat.

     

    To set up a 3-in-1 commode over a toilet, you –

     

    • remove the pale
    • check the height of the toilet bowl rim from the floor
    • adjust the length of the commode legs if you have to so that the commode seat is higher than the toilet bowl
    • simply use the spring-loaded buttons and make sure that they click loudly when they are in position – you can give them a good jiggle to make sure they have popped out well
    • make sure that all the legs are the same length, so the commode doesn’t wobble
    • put the toilet seat and lid into the upright position
    • place the commode frame over the toilet and make sure it clears and is at the height which suits the user
    • your elderly loved one’s feet should touch the floor when they are seated on the commode, and not just the toes, but at least half the foot
    • now you can place the splash guard under the commode seat if you are using one
    • place the commode seat down over the splash guard, and you are ready to use the commode as a raised toilet seat

    3 in 1 bedside commode installed over a toilet

    Where can you buy 3-in-1 commodes ?

     

    You can find all the types of commodes and shower chairs at major retailers, both in shops and online, such as –

       

      • Amazon.com
      • CVS
      • American Discount Medical Equipment – home-med-equip.com
      • Target
      • Walgreens
      • Walmart

       

      If you are interested in finding out more, I have an article about where to buy shower commodes, including –

      • brands
      • types of shower commodes
      • where I would buy a shower commode
      • Medicare and Medicare advantage coverage
      • Medicare suppliers
      • Medicare qualification guidelines
      • Medicaid coverage
      • where to buy refurbished commodes
      • how to get a commode from an assistive technology program

      I’m Gareth and I’m the owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com

      I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.

      Gareth Williams

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