\

What Is A Bariatric Commode ?

by

As I do my research for all my articles, or looking for an item for my elderly mom, I am always amazed at the number of different names by which pieces of equipment are known. And it gets a little confusing, to say the least. So I am hoping to bring a little clarity to the world of the bariatric commode.

Bariatric commodes are heavy-duty bedside commodes for larger individuals, supporting anywhere from 375 lb, to as much as 1500 lb depending on the model.

In comparison, standard bedside commodes will generally support the weight of a person up to 300 – 350 lb, but you should always check, as some folding models will only support a maximum of 250lb. 

Types of bedside commodes

There are at least 10 types of bedside commode that you can see illustrated below –

 

  • Static folding bedside commodes
  • Static stacking bedside commode
  • Static shower bedside commode
  • 3 in 1 bedside commode
  • Static drop arm bedside commode
  • Attendant transport bedside commode
  • Self-propelling transport commode
  • Attendant shower transport bedside commode
  • Self-propelling shower transport bedside commode
  • Transfer bench bedside commode

 

To learn more about them, you can check out my article, “Bedside Commodes: How To Make The Right Choice ?”.

If you want to know more about the standard bedside 3- in 1 bedside commode, I have a number of articles about them –

“What Is A 3-in-1 Commode ? And What Is It Used For ?”

“Drop Arm Commode vs 3 In 1 Commode: There’s At Least One Big Difference”

“Bedside Commode vs 3 In 1 ? How to Make The Best Choice !”

Of the bedside commode types illustrated below, all but the static folding bedside commode, the stacking commode, shower commode and the self propelling transport commode, have bariatric models.

Static folding bedside commode

Attendant transport bedside commode

Static stacking bedside commode

Self-propelling transport commode

Static shower bedside commode

Attendant shower transport bedside commode

3 in 1 bedside commode

Self-propelling shower transport bedside commode

Static drop arm bedside commode

Transfer bench bedside commode

There are bariatric versions of all the following types of bedside commode –

 

  • bariatric 3-in-1 bedside commodes
  • bariatric drop arm bedside commodes
  • bariatric transfer bench commodes
  • bariatric transport commodes (nothing over 350 lb weight capacity)
  • bariatric shower chair transport commodes

 

Some bariatric commodes will look just like the standard static (without wheels) 3-in-one or drop arm commode models, but may be a bit wider, and will be made out of steel rather than aluminum alloy to support the extra weight.

There are, though, a lot of bariatric models which look rather different from the standard bedside commodes.

Instead of having what looks like an ordinary toilet seat sitting on a metal chair frame, they have a large flat seat which extends the whole breadth and with of the frame – almost like a flat bench – such models are usually for supporting around 500 lb and up.

With these larger bariatric commodes quite a number do not come as models which you fold out and assemble yourself on delivery, they will be pre-assembled without folding joints so that the commodes can support a larger weight.

If you want to pick a bariatric commode by weight I have an article where I list over 60 bariatric commodes by weight capacity, and where you will also find their name, model number and manufacturer. You can check that article “Bariatric Bedside Commode Weight Limits: A Guide With 60 Examples And Illustrations”

Static bariatric commode features

 

Bariatric commodes will very often have a number of features that the standard bedside commodes won’t often have, aside from much stronger frames.

The frames of the majority of standard commodes are made from aluminum alloy, with some being made from steel.

Bariatric commodes frames are typically made from steel, and the commodes with the higher weight capacities will have multiple layers of tubing, and far stronger joints on the commode.

 

The following features are often found on bariatric bedside commodes –

 

  • elongated commode seat – open front and closed front
  • elongated seat with an extra wide frame
  • extra wide frames with a wider seat
  • tall bariatric bedside commode

 

The following dimensions are those of an average sized 3-in-1 commode, which you can compare with the examples of bariatric commodes of each type below –

 

Seat size: 13″ wide x 14″ deep

Seat opening: 8″ wide x 10″ deep

Adjustable seat height: 17″- 23″

Width between the armrests: 18″

Overall width: 20″

Base Dimensions: 20″ wide x 20″ deep

 

Bariatric commodes with elongated seats

 

The first feature to look at is the elongated seat.

The elongated seat gives the user easier access for cleaning themselves as it is elongated from front to back.

An elongated seat may be either open front, or closed front, with the open front affording even more access to help facilitate cleaning for the user.

The frames themselves are not much wider than a standard 3-in-1 commode, but they are 2″ and 2 1/2 inches wider.

 

An example of a closed front elongated seat on a bedside commode is –

Guardian Medline 3 in 1 commode Model No: MDS89664EL Specifications

 

Weight capacity: 400 lb 

Elongated seat size: 16.5″ deep

Seat height: 17″ – 23″

Width between the arms: 19″

Overall width: 22″

The “Guardian Medline 3 in 1 commode” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 6 1/2 inches, and the frame is 2″ wider.

The seat height is the same as a standard 3-in-1 commode.

 

An example of an open front elongated seat on a bedside commode is –

Probasics heavy duty wide commode with elongated seat Specifications

Model No: BSB31C

Weight capacity: 450 lb

Elongated seat size: 15.5″ wide x 15.5″ deep

Seat height: 17″ – 23″

Base width: 30″

Width between the arms: 21″

Overall width at arms: 22.5″

The “Probasics heavy duty wide commode with elongated seat” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 5 1/2 inches, and the frame is 2 1/2″ wider.

Again, the seat height is the same as a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Bariatric commodes with elongated seats and extra wide frames

 

These models combine the elongated seat with an extra wide frame, to give more room to accommodate the thighs and hips of larger users for greater comfort and practicality.

It is around the weight capacities of 400 lb and above that these seats seem to start to become available on bedside commodes.

The following two commodes are examples of this type of static bariatric commode

TFI Healthcare wide 3-in-1 commode with elongated seat Specifications

TFI Healthcare wide 3-in-1 commode with elongated seat

Model No: TFI3224G

Weight capacity: 400 lb 

Elongated seat size: 14 3/4″ wide x 19″ deep

Seat height: 18 1/4″- 22 1/4″

Width between the armrests: 22 3/4″

Overall Base width: 26″

The “TFI Healthcare wide 3-in-1 commode with elongated seat” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 9 inches, and the overall frame width is 2 3/4″ wider.

The seat height is lower than on a standard 3-in-1 commode by 3/4 of an inch.

TFI Healthcare extra large bedside commode with elongated seat Specifications

TFI Healthcare extra large bedside commode with elongated seat

Model No: TFI3240

Weight capacity: 700 lb 

Elongated seat size: 14 3/4″ wide x 19″ deep

Seat height: 18″ – 21″

Width between the armrests: 24 1/4″

Overall width: 28.5″

The TFI Healthcare extra large bedside commode with elongated seat” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard 3-in 1 commode seat – 9″, and the overall frame width is 4 1/4″ wider.

The seat height is lower than on a standard 3-in-1 commode by two inches.

Bariatric commodes with extra wide frames and wider seats

 

In the 400 lb weight capacity and above, we  see commodes with extra wide frames and marginally wider seats.

Extra wide frames are generally between 24 and 26 1/2″ in between the armrests, as opposed to around 18″ on a standard bedside commode.

The seats themselves are only a few inches wider, and the seat shape is  – deeper from front to back – elongated.

The extra width is again to accommodate larger hips and thighs, and to facilitate the user being able to clean themselves easily.

 

Here are some examples of extra wide bedside static commodes

Tuffcare extra wide 3 in 1 commode chair Specifications

Tuffcare extra wide 3 in 1  commode chair

Model No: M450

Weight capacity: 400 lb 

Seat size: 15 1/2″ wide x 16 1/2″ deep

Seat height: 18″ – 23″

Width between armrests: 24″

Overall width: 28″

The Tuffcare extra wide 3 in 1  commode chair” has a seat which is considerably deeper than that of a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 6 1/2 inches, and the frame is 4″ wider.

The seat height is almost the same as on a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Tuffcare extra wide drop arm commode chair Specifications

 

Tuffcare extra wide drop arm  commode chair – 

Model No: M470

Weight capacity: 450 lb 

Seat size: 15 1/2″ wide x 16 1/2″ deep

Seat height: 19″ – 24″

Width between armrests: 25″

Overall width: 31″

The “Tuffcare extra wide drop arm  commode chair” has a seat which is considerably deeper than a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 6 1/2 inches, and the frame is 11″ wider.

The seat height is 1″ higher than on a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Nova heavy duty wide drop arm commode chair Specifications

 

Nova heavy duty wide drop arm  commode chair –

Model No: 8580

Weight capacity: 450 lb 

Seat size: 23″ wide x 18 1/2″ deep

Seat height: 19 1/2″ – 23 1/2″

Width between armrests: 26 1/2″

Overall width: 33″

The “Nova heavy duty wide drop arm  commode chair” has a seat which is considerably deeper than that on a standard 3-in-1 commode seat – 8 1/2 inches, and the frame is 13″ wider.

The seat height is fractionally higher than a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Bariatric commodes with full width seats

 

These are commodes which have a seat that stretches across the whole frame width and depth, and are in the weight capacity range of 500 lb and above.

The width between the arms on these models is between 24 1/2″ and 39 3/4″.

 

An example of a larger model of bariatric commode is –

TFI Healthcare extra wide heavy-duty commode with drop arm and elongated seat Specifications

TFI Healthcare extra wide heavy-duty commode with drop arm and elongated seat 

Model No: 3243/1

Weight capacity: 1000 lb 

Seat width: 36″

Seat depth: 12″

Seat height: 20.5″

Width between the arms: 36.25″

Overall width: 39.75″

The “TFI Healthcare extra wide heavy-duty commode with drop arm and elongated seat”  has a seat which 2″ deeper than on a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 19 3/4″ wider.

The seat height is a fixed height of 20 1/2″ which is 2 1/2″ lower than the max height of a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Tall bariatric bedside commodes

 

As well as having increased weight capacities, some bariatric commodes, although surprisingly few, have a greater seat height range as well.

The standard bedside commode has, at it’s widest, a range of 16″ – 23″ from the floor to the seat.

The tallest bedside commode, has a maximum height of a towering 28″ !

For taller individuals, there is really only one bedside commode and that is the –

 

TFI Healthcare Extra tall wide commode with elongated seat

Model No: 3244

Weight capacity: 650 lb

Elongated seat size: 14 3/4″ wide x 19″ deep

Width between the armrests: 24″

Overall width: 28″

Seat height: 19″ – 28″

 

The “TFI Healthcare Extra tall wide commode with elongated seat” has a seat which 9″ deeper than on a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 8″ wider. The seat height maximum of 28″, is 5″ higher than the max height of a standard 3-in-1 commode. This is currently the tallest bedside commode available.

There are some which are a little higher than others –

 

The Drive deluxe drop-arm bedside commode” has a seat which 9″ deeper than on a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 3 1/2″ wider.

The seat height maximum of 24″, is 1″ higher than the max height of a standard 3-in-1 commode. 

TheMedline heavy duty padded drop arm bedside commode” commode has a seat with an open front.

The seat height maximum of 25 “, is 2” higher than the max height of a standard 3-in-1 commode.

The “Tuffcare extra wide drop arm commode chair” has the same seat depth as that on a standard 3-in-1 commode, and the frame is 11″ wider.

The seat height maximum of 24″, is 1″ higher than the max height of a standard 3-in-1 commode.

Well known brands of static bariatric bedside commodes

 

This next list is one showing established brands of bariatric commodes including 3-in-1, All-in-One, drop arm, extra wide, and tall static commodes –

 

  • Big John
  • Carex
  • DMI
  • Drive
  • Gendron
  • Guardian
  • Homecraft
  • Invacare
  • Lumex
  • McKesson
  • Medline
  • Nova
  • Performance Health
  • Probasics
  • TFI Healthcare
  • Tuffcare

Rolling bariatric commodes

 

It’s now time to take a look at the different types of bedside commodes with wheels

 

The 2 types of rolling commodes –

 

  • transport bedside commodes
  • shower chair transport bedside commodes

 

Bariatric models do exist for both transport bedside and shower chair transport bedside commodes. There are not as many models as there are for static bedside commodes, but that is simply due to the fact that the demand is less.

The greatest number of models is with the shower transport chair commodes, but before we get into each type and the examples, there are a few more points to be made. 

Transport bedside commodes

 

Transport bedside come into two types –

 

  • attendant transport commodes – propelled by another person who is pushing the commode user
  • self-propelling transport commodes – propelled by the user

 

Very few transport bedside commodes support more than 300 lb, and certainly none which support more than 350 lb and above in the heavy duty or bariatric models.

As for self-propelling transport commodes, there are no commodes which will support above a 250 lb weight capacity, so there don’t exist any bariatric self-propelling transport commodes either.

The designers and brands of rolling commodes would seem to have preferred to make all the bariatric models in the shower chair transport bedside commode category.

Shower chair transport bedside commodes

 

Just like the transport commodes, shower chair transport bedside commodes can be divided into two types

 

  • attendant shower chair transport commodes – propelled by another person
  • self-propelling shower chair transport commodes

 

All the rolling bariatric commodes are shower chair transport commodes.

The bariatric models which support the greatest amount of weight are all in the attendant category – “attendant” simply means that the commode cannot be propelled by its occupant, they rely on a second individual to push them.

The bariatric models in the self-propelling category do not go higher than the 485 lb weight capacity, and are also somewhat smaller in width.

The bariatric self-propelling shower chair transport commodes are still slightly wider than they otherwise would be, but this is due to the fact that the wheelchair wheels are on the exterior of the wheelchair chassis.

 

This is an example of a standard sized attendant shower chair transport commode –

Tuffcare transport padded shower commode chair with wheels Specifications

Tuffcare transport padded shower commode chair with wheels 

Model No: S800

Weight capacity: 250 lb

Seat size: 16″ wide x 16″ deep

Fixed Seat Height: 20″

Width between the armrests: 18″

Overall width: 24″ 

This is an example of a standard sized self-propelling shower chair transport commode –

Showerbuddy Roll-inBuddy Solo shower commode wheelchair Specifications

Showerbuddy Roll-inBuddy Solo shower commode wheelchair

Model No: SB6W

Weight capacity: 300 lb

Seat size: 18″ x 18″

Seat height: 22 1/4″ – 23 1/4″

Width between the armrests 18″

Overall chassis width: 27 3/4″

Attendant bariatric shower transport commode

 

Attendant shower chair transport commodes have the largest bariatric models, with the largest being the Arjo Carmina with an internal width of 31 1/4″ and an overall width of 39 1/4″ on the Arjo Carmina.

Although the Arjo Carmina can take a weight of 705 lb, which is almost 300 lb more than the  strongest self propelling shower chair transport commode, there is a slightly smaller attendant commode which can take more weight – Gendron bariatric shower transport commode which has a maximum weight capacity of 750 lb, but its frame is smaller than the Arjo Carmina.

Some examples of attendant bariatric shower commodes are –

Mor Medical New Era shower commode chair with wheels Specifications

Mor Medical New Era shower commode chair with wheels 

Model No: DNE 126

Weight capacity: 435 lb

Seat size: 16 3/4″ wide  x 17″ deep

Fixed seat height: 20 1/2 “

Width between the armrests: 26″

Overall chassis width: 29 1/2″

The seat is a 3/4″ wider, and 1″ deeper than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is 5 1/2″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is the same as the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Convaquip Model 131-5 bariatric shower transport commode Specifications

Convaquip Model 131-5 bariatric shower transport commode

Model No: 131-5

Weight capacity: 700 lb

Seat size: 30″ wide x 23″ deep 

Fixed seat height: 22 1/4″

Width between the armrests: 30″

Overall chassis width: 34″

The seat is a 14″ wider, and 7″ deeper than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is 10″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is 2 1/4′ higher than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Gendron bariatric shower transport commode Specifications

Gendron bariatric shower transport commode

Model No: 5228

Weight capacity: 750 lb

Seat size: 28″ wide x 20″ deep

Fixed seat height: 22″

Width between the armrests: 28″

Overall chassis width: 35 1/3″

The seat is a 12″ wider, and 4″ deeper than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is 11 1/3″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is 2″ higher than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Arjo carmina bariatric shower transport commode Specifications

Arjo carmina bariatric shower transport commode

Model No: carmina

Weight capacity: 705 lb

Seat size: 31″ wide x 20 1/2″ deep

Fixed seat height: 19″

Width between the armrests: 31 1/4″

Overall chassis width: 39 1/4″

The seat is a 15″ wider, and 4 1/4″ deeper than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is 15 1/4″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is 1′ lower than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Self-propelling bariatric shower transport commodes

 

Here are the only bariatric (over 350 lb weight capacity) self-propelling bariatric shower transport commodes I know of.

The width is slightly larger than the standard self-propelling models, but as I said earlier due to the wheelchair wheels their exterior width makes them a little wider, but it doesn’t translate into legroom.

There are two models of the same commode –

Ezee life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair by Healthline Specifications

Ezee life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair by Healthline

Model No: 185-24

Weight capacity: 385 lb

Seat size: 20″ x 16 1/2″

Seat height: 19 1/3″ – 21 1/3″

Width between the armrests: 20″

Overall chassis width: 28″

The seat is a 2″ wider, but 1 1/2″ less deep than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is  1/4″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is roughly  1 3/4″ less than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Ezee life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair by Healthline Specifications

Ezee life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair by Healthline

Model No: 186-24

Weight capacity: 440 lb

Seat size: 22″ x 16 1/2″

Seat height: 19 1/3″ – 21 1/3″

Width between the armrests: 22″

Overall chassis width: 30″

The seat is a 4″ wider, and 1 1/2″ less deep than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The overall width of the commode is 2 1/4″ wider than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

The seat height is roughly 1 3/4″ less than the standard attendant shower chair transport commode.

Well known brands of rolling commodes

 

Here are some of the established brands of both attendant and self propelling transport commodes and shower chair transport commodes –

 

  • ActiveAid
  • Arjo
  • Drive
  • Healthline Ezee Life
  • Invacare
  • Lumex
  • Medline
  • Performance Health
  • Probasics
  • TFI Healthcare
  • Tuffcare

Where to buy a bariatric commode ?

 

Bariatric static commodes –

Walmart, Amazon, Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

 

Bariatric attendant Shower chair transport commodes

Walmart,  Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

 

Bariatric self -propelling shower chair transport commodes

Walmart, Rehabmart.com, Home-med-equip.com

 

Amazon can be very difficult to use, as the sellers put in so many words into the titles of the commodes that the searches end up mixing everything together so I wouldn’t buy a commode there, as I can get it done in one quarter of the time on the other retailers site, and I can sort things out more easily if I have a problem.

 

My personal favorite, of all, is American Discount Home Medical – https://home-med-equip.com.

You’ll find a good range of bariatric commodes from established brands.

All the specifications for every model, the manufacturers’ information, and the model numbers are easy to find for the customer. It’s a very good and easy user experience.

I have a full article on “Where To buy A Bariatric Commode”, if you are looking for more information.

Where can you find the widest range of bariatric commodes ?

 

I am counting all commodes which have a weight capacity of over 350 lb as bariatric commodes.

 

The retailers with the widest selection of bariatric commodes made by established brands are –

Walmart – has a large range of static bariatric commodes and a large range of bariatric shower chair transport commodes.

Amazon – a good selection of static bariatric commodes from established brands but far less of the bariatric rolling commodes and with very few from established brands.

Rehabmart.com – a very good range of both the static bariatric commodes and the rolling bariatric commodes, and some very specialist chairs for those who need something more specialized – they are a specialist online retailer

American Discount Home Medical (Home-med-equip.com) – has a good-sized range of both static and rolling bariatric commodes, a good range of choice, and importantly  all are from established and good quality brands.

How much does a bariatric commode cost ?

 

Bedside commodes can cost as little as $37.99, and as much as $3300.00.

Due to their superior build quality and the stronger materials, bariatric commodes are more expensive than standard commodes.

The price of bariatric commodes is highest with the largest weight capacities and the shower transport commodes.

Basic static bariatric commodes, which have a weight capacity of 400 lb, are typically around $200.00  – $300.00, while some shower transport models can cost as much as $3000.00 – The Arjo Carmina Bariatric Shower And Commode Chair.

Typically, the greater the weight capacity, and the number of functions of the bariatric commode, the higher the cost will be.

If you want to see weight capacities and prices, they are all listed by weight capacity in my article, “How Much Does A Bedside Commode Cost ? A Guide With Over 160 Examples By Category”

Do you have Medicare Part B or a Medicare Advantage plan ?

 

Before you buy a bariatric commode, if the commode is for someone who is enrolled in Medicare Part B, or a Medicare Advantage plan, you may want to consider the purchase of the commode using  through a Medicare-enrolled supplier.

So long as the bariatric commode has been prescribed by a Medicare-enrolled physician, as “medically necessary” it will be covered for 80% of the Medicare approved price of the commode.

In the next section, I have outlined the conditions in brief, but if you want to find out more about how to get a bariatric commode through Medicare, I have an article about the whole process, which you can read “Does Medicare Cover Bedside Commodes ?” here.

As well as Medicare Part B coverage, in the article to which I linked above, there is also an explanation of how a person with Medicaid coverage may also qualify for a bariatric commode, for free, through different state programs – which vary by statethe information is in the second half of this article here.

It shows where you can check the programs which are available in your state, and who to contact to find out.

When is a bariatric commode covered by Medicare ?

 

Typically, Medicare Part B covers 80% of the Medicare-approved price of a bedside commode as durable medical equipment for use in the home if you are –

 

  • enrolled in Medicare Part B
  • have a signed prescription from a Medicare-enrolled physician which certifies that a bedside commode is a medical necessity for the patient in question
  • purchase the equipment from a Medicare-approved equipment supplier

 

Here is text from Medicare itself –

Commode chairs
Part B (Medical Insurance) covers commode chairs as durable medical equipment(DME) when ordered by a doctor for use in your home if you can’t use a regular toilet.

The original text is here – Medicare.gov.

To qualify for a bedside commode, your physician has to show that it is considered that you are medically unable to use the toilet, or get to the toilet without assistance.

Now, paying your deductible for a $200 bedside commode is going to seem a bit stupid, as it will be more than the commode, but if you have already paid it that year for something else the deductible will not apply, and so you will get a $200 commode for $40, which is more interesting.

Again, if you want more details, you can take a look at my article, “Does Medicare Cover Bedside Commodes ?”.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, or Part C as it is also known, you are entitled to the same coverage as medicare Part B.

The only part which changes with an Advantage plan, is that you will need to buy your  bariatric bedside commode from a supplier within your plan’s network.

Where do you buy a bedside commode with Medicare Part B ?

 

Medicare uses Medicare-approved suppliers, and to get the cheapest prices you should only use those suppliers who are called “Medicare Participating Suppliers” and who accept assignment.

Suppliers who are who do not accept assignment are allowed to add 15% on to the Medicare-approved price of an item, and you, not Medicare, will have to pay that on top of your 20% coinsurance, and if it applies your annual deductible.

You can use this link to find a local DME supplier on  Medicare.gov.

 

Are Veterans covered for a bariatric bedside commode  ?

 

If you are a veteran, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has grants, programs, forms of financial assistance and pensions which will help to cover the cost of equipment such as bedside commodes.

You can find out about your local VA Medical Centers, Clinics and offices at this link here.

Where you will buy the bedside commode may, or may not, depend on the funding, you may be able to buy it where you wish, or the VA may ask you to use a specific supplier.

Where can you buy a refurbished bedside commode  ?

 

To buy a “gently used” bariatric commode which has been refurbished, there is the option of stores like Goodwill, the Salvation Army and thrift stores.

 

Goodwill

There are local Goodwill stores all across the country.

This is the website page to find your local store – https://www.goodwill.org/locator/

Salvation Army

There are lots of stores across the country, so use their locator to find one near you.

Go to this page on their website to find out how  – https://satruck.org/

Many nonprofit organizations work across the US refurbishing used medical equipment.

One agency, which should know about the different refurbishing centers and non-profits in your area, will be your local Area Agency on Aging.

 

Area Agency On Aging

Area Agencies on Aging are deeply involved with local community groups working to help caregivers and the elderly.

To find your local Area Agency on Aging, you can use their locator tool – click here to do so.

Assistive Technology Programs

 

Assistive Technology Programs are state programs which work to increase access AT device and equipment for people with disabilities and the elderly, who can’t afford to pay high prices, if at all.

These AT programs are frequently are partnered with nonprofit organizations who work to recycle and refurbish devices and equipment.

Assistive Technology includes a lot of medical equipment, including bedside commodes.

The AT programs will have a website where they coordinate all their services and different events that they run statewide to increase their outreach. On these sites, you can register with them if you are in need of assistance and equipment.

These websites have contact numbers which you can call and find out all about refurbishing centers, where you may be able to buy cheap equipment or even get it for free if you are in financial difficulty.

Some AT Programs have also got an “Online AT Exchange”, where members can exchange, buy, sell or donate equipment. You only have to be a resident of the state to join, and you can find some great deals.

In another article, I have listed all the state AT Programs, along with links to their websites – the article is actually about donating bedside commodes. You just click on your state, and that will take you to the individual websites. You can find the article here.

When should you start using a bedside commode ?

Typically, bedside commodes are used by the elderly, disabled individuals, or those who have had a surgery, who require a toilet by the bed, or near to them in another room, due to a lack of mobility, and for safety reasons.

An individual who is unable to stand, and may require a commode right up against the bed, which they can slide over onto, without standing. In this case, the person would use a transfer commode, as used by many wheelchair users.

If an individual, in bed, is not able to slide themselves over, or to stand, a caregiver can use a patient lift to place them onto the bedside commode.

A commode may also be placed by the bed, or in a living area, because the user is not able to get to the toilet quickly enough, and it helps to avoid accidents.

In many cases, it is a very good idea to have a bedside commode next to the bed for elderly adults, to avoid

falls due to a lack of lighting, drowsiness, confusion and from stiffness from lying in bed, at night.

My mom can be incredibly stiff and drowsy when she gets up to go to the bathroom at night, and this can lead to her being somewhat unsteady.

To learn more, you can take a look at this article – “When Should You Start Using A Commode ?”.

Benefits of bedside commodes

 

My elderly mom has been using a bedside commode over our toilet for a number of years, giving us both peace of mind at night, knowing that Mom has an easy and safe way of using the toilet.

For a person with reduced mobility, what ever the reason for that may be, a bedside/bariatric commode can be of great benefit.

The benefits can be –

 

  • can increase user confidence once they see how it makes sitting and standing simpler and safer
  • creates greater independence, freedom and control for the user
  • can lead to increased privacy and sense of dignity for the user
  • easy and quick access, as you can place them anywhere
  • it may be easier for wheelchair users than a toilet in certain situations
  • more comfortable option for bedridden individuals, as compared to a bed pan
  • the seat height can be adjusted to reduce bending
  • models come in all sizes, including for larger individuals
  • prices start as low as $40.00
  • a commode means no need for home renovation
  • can be placed anywhere in the home
  • extremely portable
  • models with wheels
  • certain models have multiple uses, like the 3-in-1 commode
  • certain models can also be used over an existing toilet
  • bedside commodes are a safe option after hip, or knee replacement surgery

 

To read more about the benefits of bedside commodes, and especially to our elderly loved ones, take a look at my article on the many ways in which it can really help – “19 Benefits Of Bedside Commodes: Making Life Easier For Seniors”

How often should a bedside commode be cleaned ?

 

A bedside commode of any types should be cleaned each time it has been used, especially if you are not using a commode liner.

If you don’t clean the commode –

  • the bacteria will become airborne
  • the bacteria will spread
  • the person in the room will be breathing this in
  • the odors will spread and be absorbed into all non-sealed surfaces
  • the plastic of the commode will absorb the odors
  • and more

 

There is quite a lot more to this, and you can read about it in my article “How Often Should A Bedside Commode Be Cleaned ?”. 

How to clean a bedside commode ?

 The cleaning of a bedside commode is not just about washing the commode, you also have to use the right products to make sure that you kill all the bacteria, and you need to do it regularly, and you need to make sure that you wear some kind of protective clothing for the jobs so that you are not spreading bacteria around the home.

You are going to need to soak certain parts, disassemble other parts, and also check for any signs of corrosion and cracking.

If you want to find out about how to clean any kind of bedside commode, whether it is a bariatric commode or not, I have an article about that –  “The Best Way To Clean A bedside Commode ?”.

 

How to clean a commode bucket ?

If you are not using commode liners, you are going to have to pay particular attention to the cleaning of the commode bucket, or pail.

It is not the nicest of jobs, but there are actually a number of tips which will make it easier and more effective.

You may want to have a number of buckets so that you can rotate them while you are cleaning one’s which have just been used.

If you want to know specifically about cleaning commode buckets, I have an article about just that, which is full of tips that I have picked up over the years  – “Great Tips On How To Clean A Commode Bucket: The Products, The Method And Keeping It Smelling Sweet !”

How often should a bedside commode be emptied  ?

 

After every use, the bedside commode should be emptied. If you don’t empty it, the odors will start to spread as I said above, and it all becomes rather unhealthy and very unpleasant for anyone in the room.

The same applies if you are using disposable commodes liners, you still do not want to use the commode and then not take out the commode liner, and certainly don’t use commode liners more than once.

If you want to learn more, you can read my article about this –“Empty And Clean It Properly Every Time ! Don’t Let Stuff Sit In A Bedside Commode”

Disposable commode liners

 

If you don’t want to have to deal with the messy business of emptying  a commode bucket down your toilet, you can use disposable commode liners.

These are plastic liners, like bags, which you place into the commode bucket, and then pull over the rim.

Typically, you will also place an absorbent pad into the liner inside the bucket as well, and this will absorb all the liquids.

Once the user has finished on the commode, you then take the liner, tie it up and dispose of it in the landfill trash outside.

I have an article where you can find out about how to use the liners, where to buy the liners in bulk to cut the costs, what the different popular brands are, or how to make your own homemade commode liners. You can read that article here – “How To Dispose Of Commode Liners ?”.

Bedside commode odor control

 

To keep odors to a minimum, use disposable commode liners and throw them out immediately.

As I have already mentioned, empty the commode every time it is used, and don’t leave it there for more than a minute or two before you clean it.

If you are not using disposable liners, buy one or two extra pails and after each use soak them in disinfectant for several hours after you have emptied them.

It is best to seal any wooden furniture near the commode, so it won’t absorb smells.

Because soft fabrics also absorb smells, so you may want to wash curtains and bed covers more frequently, or use Lysol fabric sprays to kill the bacteria causing these odors.

Regularly clean and disinfect the area around the commode, and have some kind of waterproof mat on the floor under the commode, in case there are spillages, which there inevitably will be.

To find out more about floor protection, just take a quick look at my article on “Floor Protection For Bedside Commodes”, it is basically a list of the different options available.

If you are not using a mat, and you have a spillage, you can use enzymatic cleaners, sold in pet stores. These are great at cleaning up feces and urine, and were formulated to clean up messes from cats and dogs on carpets.

If opening the window is not enough, you may want to consider installing an extractor fan in the room, as close to the commode as possible.

To get lots more ideas and tips like these, I have a whole article on the subject, “Bedside Commode Odor Control: How To Keep It Smelling Sweet ?”

How to keep a commode from tipping ?

 

To stop a bedside commode from tipping, there are really only a few solutions.

 1) You can place the commode chair into a confined space which inhibits any tipping –

  • in the corner of the room against the walls and have some furniture against one side as well
  • or place it between the bed and the corner of the room
  • remove any clutter and obstacles from around the bedside commode  that could cause your loved one to trip

 

2) You can purchase a specific commode chair – the Derby Corner Commode Chair – which is designed in such a way that the user’s back is facing the corner, and the commode cannot tip.

3) What I feel is the best way to avoid tipping, is to make sure that your loved one knows how to sit down on a commode without it tipping, and that you know how to assist them in doing so. If your loved one needs it, they can use a walker to help them maintain their balance while doing this.

To find out more, here’s another article with all the relevant information, “How To Keep A Bedside Commode From Tipping Over ?”.

Can you use bariatric commodes over a toilet ?

 

A standard 3-in-1 bedside commode can be used over a toilet as –

 

  • a toilet safety frame
  • a raised toilet seat – if a person has trouble with sitting and standing, you can reduce the distance by raising the commode seat level from the floor

 

You may be wondering if it is possible to use a bariatric bedside commode over a toilet, as you can do with standard 3-in-1 bedside commodes.

The answer to this is a simple one, if the bariatric commode has adjustable leg height, and that some adjustable heights are greater than the height of the rim of your toilet bowl rim, you will be able to use the commode over your toilet.

This is of course unless your bariatric commode is so wide that it won’t fit – a lot of toilets are placed in corners of bathrooms and a commode which is 39 1/2 inches wide may not fit – you would need 20″ between the center of the toilet bowl and the side wall next to the toilet, so measure to make sure if you are getting a really wide commode.

The other reason a bariatric commode may not fit over a toilet is, if it has a fixed leg height which is lower than your toilet bowl rim.

Most retailers will say if a bariatric commode is meant for use over a toilet – if the bariatric commode is called a “bariatric 3-in-1 commode” you are safe to assume it fits over a toilet – but again check the width of the frame if the space around your toilet is tight.

Now, even if you use a commode over the toilet, you are still going to need to clean it.

 

To find out how to use a bariatric commode over a toilet, I have another article – “Can A Bedside Commode Be Used Over A Toilet ?”.

The article contains a complete list of bedside commodes, including the bariatric models which can be used over the toilet, as well as the maximum heights of the different models.

 

If you need to use a splash guard, and you’re not sure what it is and how it works, you’ll find out all about them in my two articles on splash guards for bedside commodes –

“What Is A Commode Splash Guard ?”

“How To Use A Commode Splash Guard ?”

bedside commode installed over a toilet

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

Recent Content