Often when people have issues with limited mobility, the movement from standing to sitting and vice versa can be quite a challenge.

Limited mobility can occur for a variety of reasons. Certain illnesses affect the muscles, bones and joints causing chronic pain that makes it a challenge to move around with ease. Other illnesses can take a serious toll on the body, leaving it weak and unstable. Surgery can also temporarily or permanently leave a person with limited mobility as they recover. Men and women who have problems with balance may find it difficult to safely move around without issues.

Whatever the reason, older adults who have problems sitting and standing on their own are at a greater risk of injury. The bathroom can be an especially dangerous place because there's an elevated chance of falling as someone tries to stand up from or sit down on a toilet. Because of this, a drop arm commode can be highly beneficial to those with limited mobility to avoid hurting themselves.

What is a drop arm commode?
A drop arm commode is a bedside toilet that has arms that fold down and out of the way to make lateral transfers on and off the seat more easily and safely. Once the person is comfortably seated on the toilet, the arms can be raised back up as a safety precaution.

Drop arm commode chairs are useful for patients who are bedridden or in a wheelchair and can't easily lift themselves onto a toilet. A caregiver can help move them sideways onto the toilet seat when the arms are dropped, then lift them back up while the person does their business so they don't accidentally fall or slide off.

Does Medicare cover drop arm commodes? What do they cost?
Medicare provides coverage for all necessary commode chairs including drop arm commodes. Under Medicare Part B, they are considered durable medical equipment.

In certain areas, you may be affected by the Competitive Bidding Program. If this is the case, Medicare will only help cover equipment provided by contract suppliers.

Medicare will cover 80 percent of the total cost, and you will be responsible for the remaining 20 percent. Prices vary depending on the provider and features of the drop arm commode chair.

How do you qualify for coverage?
To qualify for coverage under Original Medicare of a drop arm commode chair, a doctor must write a prescription and document the need in your medical records.

Additionally people requiring drop arm commode chairs have:

  • An illness that confines them to one room
  • A disability making it a challenge to use the toilet

Those with Medigap or a Medicare Advantage plan should contact their provider to ask how they qualify for coverage.

Where can you get a drop arm commode chair?
There are a variety of suppliers that provide drop arm commode chairs. This equipment can be ordered online through companies that sell medical products. They can also be purchased in pharmacies and stores that carry commode chair options.