Choosing the right shower commode chair is a process that involves matching an individual’s specific requirements – to their social and environmental factors.
We know that you’re ultimately searching for solutions to promote independence, protect skin and prevent injury, and your overall goal is to enable your clients to have a safe, calm and comfortable showering experience.
To help support you and your clients to find right showering solution, we’ve put together a few tips below based on the experience of our Occupational Therapists and Equipment Solutions team.
Understand your client’s preferences as part of the initial assessment
Initial showering assessments take into account your client’s functional and cognitive ability, in addition to their seating requirements or 24-hour positioning needs, and the likelihood of these needs changing over time.
As important as these considerations are, it’s equally important to understand what your client’s goals are in relation to their personal care. What solution are they comfortable with? Cultural requirements will also need to be explored.
Taking time to understand your client’s express wishes as well as the needs of those who care for them is key to achieving an outcome everyone is happy with. Clients may have a strong preference for a self-propelled or attendant-propelled commode, so it’s important to ask these questions upfront.
Double check measurements
When assessing their physical environment, in our experience it always pays to double check measurements (including doorways, halls and turning circles). If you need help finding solutions for tight or tricky spaces, then it may be worth getting our Equipment Specialists to take a look with you. This can save time in the long run.
Choose the correct aperture size
Getting the aperture size right can help with stability and help protect the skin from pressure injuries or tears. Your client’s Ischial Tuberosity (or ‘sit bones’) and coccyx should fall within the aperture, so the load is carried by their gluteal muscles and legs. The Queensland Spinal Injury Service recommends measuring the width between the ITs and then adding 70mm to determine the right aperture size. Source: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/423951/msc-assess.pdf
Junior and pediatric aperture sizes are also available as well as custom apertures for those with more complex needs. Selecting the correct aperture opening is also important (front, closed, left, right, rear) and will depend on your client’s functional ability, needs and preference.
If pressure relief is a big concern, Cubro can supply seamless custom-made seats using high-grade visco elastic foam, rather than molded or machine-made padded seats. This option is ideal if your client has already invested in a pressure relief mattress as the quality will be consistent across all surfaces they’re in contact with.
One customizable showering solution which can provide additional pressure relief are the Raz family shower commodes. Raz commodes give you the flexibility to choose the seat, wheels, arm rests, back rests and foot rests to suit your client. Arm rests for example, come in three options – flat, gutter and standard depending on your client’s individual needs. An armrest locking mechanism is also available for clients who pull on the armrests to bring themselves forward when completing their personal care.
We know that millimeters matter. Raz commodes can easily be adjusted and Cubro’s Equipment Specialists will help you choose what accessories you need to manage tight spaces or other particular issues.
Accessibility both at and away from home
If your client needs to step over a shower lip or into a bath, the Multichair range of commodes are a good option, as they feature a track and bridge system to negotiate these issues. The commode simply slides backwards or sideways into the shower and can swivel once in place.
The Multichair is one of several models we stock which can also fold away into a bag for ease of travel. This is an important point to consider as a shower commode must be compatible with your client’s lifestyle.
A range of accessories are also available for shower commodes including lateral supports, lateral thigh supports and lateral hip guides to help hold the body in the correct position.
Like any piece of equipment, shower commodes do deteriorate over time. If your client’s seat is showing any signs of wear and tear, or if their needs have changed (they’ve grown, lost or gained weight, or moved into a new environment) then it’s time to look at a replacement.