Mobility issues impact various daily activities, but these issues can make it especially awkward, painful or difficult to manage personal bathroom needs safely and comfortably. Commode chairs come in a variety of styles, such as the 3-in-1 design, and can be a necessary mobility aid whether a person is dealing with a temporary or chronic condition.

Common Types of Commode Chairs

It’s important to understand how commode chairs are categorized in order to determine which one may be best for you or your loved one. There can be several factors involved in choosing the right commode chair.

The most common types of commode chairs include:

  • Bedside chair. This style is the simplest variation of a commode chair. It may or may not include a cushioned back, but it will include one or two armrests, a cushioned seat and a receptacle for waste.
  • Transfer chair. One or both of this type of seat’s arms is designed to pivot away from the seat to make it easier for a user to move from a bed or wheelchair onto the seat itself. There may be an additional cushioned seat extension to further assist in a transition or there may only be one arm instead of two.
  • Over-the-toilet chair. This style does not have a waste receptacle since it is designed to fit over an existing toilet. It may or may not have wheels, but if it does feature wheels, they should be able to lock in place for extra safety.
  • Shower chair. The design of a shower chair typically includes durable, water-resistant materials, arms that pivot and wheels that can be locked. A receptacle sits beneath the commode seat.

Benefits of a 3-in-1 Commode Chair

A 3-in-1 commode chair combines the benefits of the basic chair with the over-the-toilet chair by being built for use with or without the receptacle, or without the seat at all so that a person can simply use the chair’s handrails to get up and down from a standard toilet seat. People who choose a 3-in-1 style of commode chair may expect their needs for the chair will vary from day to day or change over time.

With the seat and receptacle in place, the chair is suitable for bedside use, which is most helpful for those with extremely limited mobility. Using the seat over a standard toilet instead of with the included receptacle may be preferred if mobility improves and a person simply needs a higher seat that makes it easier for them to sit down and then stand up. As a device used just for its handrails, a 3-in-1 commode chair provides a quick and convenient solution when permanently installed handrails aren’t available.

A primary care physician can help you or your loved one consider how long you may need mobility assistance with a commode chair, which can help determine which style of chair suits those needs best.

Medicare Coverage for a 3-in-1 Commode Chair

When Medicare recipients are prescribed a commode chair by a Medicare-approved doctor, the chair can qualify as durable medical equipment (DME). In order for Medicare benefits to apply to the coverage of a commode chair, a Medicare recipient or their doctor must order it from a Medicare-contracted supplier. Your doctor must order the equipment due to a medical necessity for use in your home.

Medicare benefits through Part B cover durable medical equipment, which means the Part B deductible applies and Medicare recipients are obligated to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved cost. Medicare beneficiaries may be able to lower their cost-sharing obligations with Original Medicare by purchasing a Medicare Supplement that helps pay for coinsurance and deductibles, or, alternatively, by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan that offers additional benefits.

Medicaid, which is a low-income program, may also be available for Medicare beneficiaries if they meet their state’s eligibility standards for assistance with costs related to Medicare premiums and deductibles.

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