Devices Offering Great Solutions (DOGS)

Shower Chairs and Commodes

Shower chairs and commodes can make personal care easier

What does it do?

Shower chairs and commodes are commonly needed after surgeries or any procedure that affects someone’s gait or stamina. Shower chairs can help anyone who has trouble standing for a long time in the shower. They provide a safe option for bathing, whether assisted or independently.

Commodes, at the bedside, are helpful for anyone who has incontinence or can’t walk to the bathroom. They take the place of a toilet. Commodes have a toilet seat and a bucket or collection container to hold waste.

What kinds of shower chairs and commodes are there?

Shower Chairs and Stools

Shower chairs can be plastic, metal, wooden or any combination that can be placed in the bathtub or shower. They often have adjustable legs so they can be raised or lowered to the right height for you. Shower chairs usually have a back support and may have arms. Shower stools are low-profile and can fit into smaller shower stalls or bathtubs. You can see a wide variety of models from companies like Drive Medical.

Transfer Bench

A transfer bench allows you to slide in and out of the shower. This is especially helpful when you’re navigating a bathtub.

Drop-Arm Commode

A standard commode is equipped with a collection container and lid. It is made of steel and plastic for extra support. Some commodes also have detachable arms. This helps wheelchair users transfer onto the commode. This type of device is available from companies like Drive.

Commode Liners

You can line the bucket or collection container with a plastic bag or commode liner for ease of emptying. No muss, no fuss. Some companies make absorbent pads that turn waste into a gel. They reduce odors and eliminate spills and splashes. You can get these from places like DME Supply.

Multifunction Toilet / Bathing Chairs

These chairs are on wheels, so that they can be positioned either over the toilet or in the shower. They usually offer more support than a standard shower chair or commode. There may be extra features like tilting or reclining. Multifunction bath chairs are available for adults (see the ShowerBuddy) as well as for children (see the Flamingo or Rifton toileting systems).

Metal framed commode chair.

How do I see what's new?

Technology changes all the time. To find out about the latest options for these, you can type keywords into a search engine such as Google, Safari, Firefox, or Bing on a computer or tablet. These are the keywords for this type of item:

bedside commode, portable commode, portable toilet, potty chair, shower chair, bath chair, bath stool

How do I find out more?

If you live in the US outside of Pennsylvania you would need to find your state's AT program.

If you live in Pennsylvania:

  • you could contact TechOWL to work with a specialist. We can meet with you and sometimes demonstrate this equipment. We can also help with different ways to get one for your own.
  • you might borrow this equipment to try out. Do we have this in our lending library?


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Laura Grassia

Laura Grassia is the Program Manager for Pennsylvania's statewide Telecommunication Device Distribution Program, known to the public as the Free Special Phone Program. She brings over 20 years of experience working with adults in mental health settings and seniors in long term care facilities. Laura was working with rapid access assistive technology without even knowing it! Creating successful daily living experiences is her main goal when working with adults and seniors. Need resources for seniors? Just ask!

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