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Commodes are positioned in an accessible location for the user. This positioning is usually next to the bed. The purpose of the Commode is to facilitate easy toileting and reduce the risk of a fall when transitioning to the bathroom. They can enable independent living and limit the requirement for assistance.

Commodes generally take up the same footprint as a chair. There are however much larger ones which are usually those designed to resemble furniture. Most Commodes are manufactured using metal and plastic for infection control. They consist of a frame supporting a toilet seat with a removable, washable pan. Often it is fitted with a cushioned lid to conceal the pan. This lid also makes it suitable for use as a chair. Height-adjustable chair legs allow for a safer transfer and a comfortable seating position.

Commodes may be mobile or stationary. Mobile Commodes feature lockable wheels and may be attendant or user-controlled. The Mobile Commode makes it possible to transfer to the bathroom. Positioning the Commode over the toilet allows the user to remain seated rather than transferring onto the toilet. The Commode may then be wheeled to the showering area. This reduction in standing minimises fatigue and assists patients with reduced mobility. To be able to use a Commode, the user must be able to weight bear and lower onto the Commode. Usually, there is also a requirement for turning or sliding into position. If weight-bearing is not possible, then it is common for a patient lifter or hoist to be used to position the patient.

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