What is a commode

What is a commode? What is the difference between commode and toilet?

Décor General

What is a commode? A commode is a bedside or bathroom chamber or seat that is used for defecating. A commode is a word that is interchangeable with a toilet seat. But instead of having a flushing system like a regular toilet a commode only has a box or chamber where stools are then stored after use. After use, a commode needs to be cleaned of the stools and this is accomplished in three ways:

  • By using a flushing system that can be attached to the commode. This system allows the commode to be used just like a regular toilet when the flushing system is permanently or temporarily connected to the commode.
  • By using single use liners that can be thrown after use.
  • By manually cleaning the stools after use with soap and water.

Why do people call it a commode?

The word commode comes from the French language meaning convenient and it was first coined in the early 1900s. At that time commodes were used as toilets when flushing and sewage systems were not common. Most cities did not have a sewage system so people used commodes to relieve themselves, especially at night. This was then carried away for disposal outside the cities by porters.

With time, these systems were replaced by modern sewage disposal and treatment systems which are common in all the major cities of the world.

What is a commode used for?

Commodes are still in use today for three main areas:

  • Commodes are commonly used in off the grid cabins and remote patrol stations. These areas may not have a proper sewage disposal system. Thye may even not have septic tanks for on property waste management. That is why the use of commodes in these situations is common.
  • Commodes are also used for the elderly and the disabled. Elderly and handicapped people who cannot walk to the bathroom and are mostly bedridden will have to use a commode. There are a lot of diseases, heart disease being one of them that causes people to develop tachypnea on exertion, which is a way of saying that they develop difficulty breathing on very light exercise or mobility. The use of commodes and bedpans for such individuals in nursing care is still very common.
  • Commodes are also used by campers and also for military applications. Most people are not used to defecating in a squatting position so they will carry a portable commode that can be easily cleaned after camping.
What is a commode
Courtesy Avacare Medical

What is a commode in nursing?

A commode in nursing refers to a makeshift toilet that is used for patients so that they can pass stool bedside. It is a very commonly used hospital item. For most patients who are bed-bound, a commode can be a very useful item so that they can pass stools bedside without any embarrassment. It saves the patient from having to wear a pamper which can be very disturbing for some people. A bedside commode is available in different models and forms to aid people with different disabilities. Bedpans also fall into the category of commodes.

Most people, who provide care for the elderly at home are not aware of commodes. They frequently used disposable diapers that can quickly raise the cost of care severalfold. Many patients don’t even want to use diapers in the first place. They require frequent changing and are prone to causing a rash. If a diaper is left for a long time after defecation the stool can itself cause damage to the skin of the patient? Hence, commodes are an alternative method. Most elderly and disabled can easily use a bedside commode. This prevents them from having to walk to the toilet which may be contraindicated for many patients. And also to avoid the use of diapers.

Does commode mean toilet? Difference between a commode and a toilet?

No, a commode is only a bowl used for defecating that may be converted into a chair for ease of use. The bowl also will usually have an air-tight lid to prevent the smell of stool from coming out. It will not have any flushing system. It requires manual disposal of the stool after use.

A toilet can be mainly thought of as a commode with a flushing system and is attached to underground sewage drains and disposal systems. A toilet can be thought of as something that can get rid of the waste on its own while a commode requires manual cleaning after use. Toilets can be either connected to septic tanks or underground sewage disposal lines.

How much does a bedside commode cost?

A commode can cost anywhere from $30 for a collapsable commode used for bedside to a tilt in space commode chair that can be used as a wheelchair a commode and also for shower use costing about 1250 dollars. But it usually depends on the patient and the type he prefers. If the patient is a 21-year-old with a disability a commode chair can be a good option, but if you are buying for an elderly gentleman who has difficulty getting out of bed then a collapsible commode chair for the bedside will be the best option. I have linked both the items below if you want to check them out.

If you are considering buying a commode for medical reasons I would recommend a bedside commode that is collapsable.

If you are buying a commode for use in an off-the-grid cabin my recommendation is to use a portable commode that blends in with the furniture of the cabin and can be easily carried outdoor to do your business.

If you are considering buying a commode for camping or outdoor trips then I would recommend something that is collapsable and easily deployable in any situation. It also needs to be lightweight so it can be carried around.

Another option that many people also use is to get a wall-mounted toilet fixed in their bathroom. This is only feasible for certain elderly and disabled, however, who can use a wheelchair. This type of toilet seat has no pedestal so it is easy to move into and out of it with a wheelchair. It can also be installed at any height, unlike a regular toilet.

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