Ask Kate! How Do I Fit A Raised Toilet Seat?
Posted by Mike Phipps on December 30, 2021
Hello! I am Kate Makin, Ability Superstore’s resident Occupational Therapist (OT). I am here to answer your mobility aid queries. I also write articles and guides to assist you in choosing the right disability aids.
As an OT, I work with a variety of individuals who have various mobility issues, are all ages and have many different illnesses, injuries and long-term disabilities.
For this blog, I thought I would give you some hints and tips on how to fit a popular bathroom disability aid, a raised toilet seat.
One of the questions I'm frequently asked about raised toilet seats is; "Does the seat fit onto the toilet bowl itself, or on top of the existing seat?".
Most raised toilet seats do attach to the toilet bowl and generally, the existing seat can be left in place, but the lid has to be raised however, there are a couple of raised toilet seats which can be fitted on top of the existing toilet seat like the Ashby Easyfit Raised Toilet Seat.
There is even a toilet seat riser the – Prima Lift Underseat Toilet Riser – which goes under your existing seat and raises the original seat.
As with most independent mobility aids, there are a few things to consider before buying a raised toilet seat.
What Is A Raised Toilet Seat?
Raised toilet seats are toileting aids that attach to an existing toilet to increase the height of the actual seat. By raising the height of the seat, it reduces the need to squat down so far in order to get on and off the toilet, and therefore makes using the toilet safer and easier. The action of raising and lowering, whether into an armchair, or onto the loo, is a frequent problem faced by many people either due to age, illness, or disability.
What Are Raised Toilet Seats Made From?
Most raised toilet seats are made from plastic.
There are a number of padded raised toilet seats which are generally fitted to the existing toilet seat. The cover is usually made from a wipeable material, with the inside part being foam.
What Types Of Raised Toilet Seats Are Available?
There is a wide range of raised toilet seats available including coloured ones, which aid either the partially sighted, or someone living with dementia.
Many of the seats have integral arms to help the user push up when rising from the loo, or to provide security/something to hold when lowering. Frequently, raised toilet seats (without integral arms) are used together with a freestanding toilet frame, or drop down safety rail which provides the user with support similar to the integral arms.
Padded Raised Toilet Seats
Padded raised toilet seats are exactly that, padded, to provide the user some cushioning and comfort, as well as providing extra height to their existing seat. This type is simple to fit and can be easily removed, as they have a hook and loop attachment, so a form of screw attachment is required.
Most padded toilet seats have a vinyl type cover for easier and hygienic cleaning.
Ergonomic Toilet Seats
Ergonomic seats are shaped for additional comfort and support whilst seated. These seats tend to be more shaped than standard toilet seats, and often have a larger aperture with cut-away shapes at the front and rear.
This type of seat is usually available in a range of heights and come with, or without, a lid. They fit securely and directly onto the actual toilet bowl, replacing the original toilet seat.
As an Occupational Therapist, I typically see this mobility aid being used by people with limited mobility when transferring on and off the toilet.
Raised Toilet Seats Without Lids
Raised toilet seats without lids are what I would describe as, "standard raised toilet seats". They come in a range of height options, typically 5, 10, or 15 cm (2, 4, or 6 inches). The height of the seat depends on the users’ height and their individual needs, as well as their level of mobility.
Seats without a lid will fit onto most toilets and will generally be fitted directly onto the actual toilet bowl itself. The existing seat simply needs to be up and out of the way. Once this is done, the raised seat can fit securely and directly to the existing one.
Most of these raised seats are fitted by two, or three, adjustable brackets on each side of the toilet seat which attach the raised toilet seat firmly to the toilet bowl, making fitting and removing it quick and easy.
Toilet Seats With Lids
Lids on raised toilet seats provide a way of keeping bacteria and smells within the toilet bowl. Also, if a raised toilet seat is going to be used in the longer term, then a raised toilet seat with a lid helps it to blend into bathroom decor.
Clip-on Raised Toilet Seats
Clip-on raised toilet seats simply clip directly onto the existing toilet seat, rather than the toilet bowl, with the existing seat lid lifted up and out of the way.
As an OT, I often find that this type of raised toilet seat is used for travel purposes, as the seats are easily removed. There are many benefits to this style of seat – they offer a fixed height seat making getting on and off the toilet easier, whilst offering the flexibility to remove and to replace the seat quickly and easily. This is useful for travel, or when there are multiple users of the toilet in a household.
Raised Toilet Seats With Arms
There are several raised toilet seats available with armrests. These seats offer both the increased height to help with getting on and off the toilet, but come with the added benefit of armrests for extra safety and stability.
These seats are ideal mobility aids for users with very restricted mobility, or reduced balance, and may replace the need for a separate toilet frame, or grab rails alongside.
Depending on the make and model of the toilet seat, some of the arms are at a fixed height, others are height adjustable and can be folded out of the way. This is beneficial if other family members use the toilet, or if there is limited space in the bathroom for a toilet frame. Most of the raised toilet seats with arms are fixed to the toilet and provide a discreet toilet raiser for domestic use.
Bariatric Toilet Seats
For plus size users, there are bariatric toilet seats available. These are designed with a higher maximum weight limit to ensure the full safety of the user. Often, the seating area of the toilet seat will be larger than on a standard seat.
Coloured Toilet Seats
Coloured toilet seats are useful for those living with dementia, or visual impairment, as the colour contrast can make the toilet easier to see and recognise. This can often help to orientate people and prevent falls. There are red and blue toilet seats available and matching coloured grab rails for sale on the Ability Superstore website.
As an OT, a common issue that I get asked about is how to prevent accidents when a gentleman is sitting down to use the toilet. This is a common problem, particularly when a person may have difficulty positioning themselves correctly on the toilet without assistance. Fortunately, there is a mobility aid to assist with this.
Splash guards are available that attach to most standard toilets, commodes, or raised toilet seats. They are a simple yet effective aid that deflects urine down into the toilet and helps to prevent accidents and maintain personal hygiene.
How Do I Measure For A Raised Toilet Seat?
It is really important that the height of the toilet seat is correct. It needs to be high enough to help with getting on and off the toilet safely and easily, but it does not want to be too high. Ideally, when you are sat down on the toilet, your feet should be flat on the floor, and your hips should ideally be at a 90-degree angle, with your knees and hips at the same height. To measure for a raised toilet seat, you need to…
- Sit on a firm chair, such as a dining chair, with your knees and hips at the same height, and measure the height from the floor to the back of your thigh, just behind the knee. This is the seat height that you need.
- Measure the height of your current toilet. If the raised toilet seat is to be attached directly to the toilet bowl, measure to this height.
- The difference between the two measurements is the raised toilet seat height that you need.
For example, if you have measured your seat height as being 48 cm (19 inches) and your toilet height as 43 cm (7 inches), you will need a 5 cm (2 inches) raised toilet seat. Most seats come in 5, 10, or 15 cm (2, 4, or 6 inches) heights.
How Are The Raised Toilet Seats Fitted?
Different toilet seats have a multitude of fittings, depending on the make and model. The padded style generally has hooks and loops to attach to the existing toilet seat. The clip-on seat simply clips onto the existing toilet seat and is attached and released easily with a squeeze and push motion.
The majority of raised toilet seats however, have adjustable brackets on either side of the seat and they often have a rubber grip towards the front part to secure the raised toilet seat to the toilet pan. To fit, the existing toilet seat is simply lifted out of the way. The raised toilet seat is placed directly onto the ceramic toilet bowl and the brackets on either side are then turned and tightened until the toilet seat is fitted securely in place. Often, the raised toilet seat will also have a front lip, to ensure that it is fitted correctly and securely onto the toilet.
Most raised toilet seats will fit on a wide range of toilets however, it is important to always check that the seat is fitted securely before each use.
Do I Need To Remove My Existing Toilet Seat?
This is a question that, as an Occupational Therapist, I get asked a lot. The simple answer is generally no, as most raised toilet seats can be fitted to the toilet with the existing toilet seat being left in place and simply lifted out of the way.
Some people who need a raised toilet seat for their long-term needs may consider having the existing toilet seat removed and replaced with a fixed and raised toilet seat. Generally, however, it is not essential to remove the existing toilet seat for the majority of raised toilet seats.
How Do I Remove The Raised Toilet Seat?
Depending on the make and model of the raised toilet seat, they tend to be removed in the opposite way to them being fitted. Generally, this will be a case of unscrewing the brackets on either side of the seat and lifting it off the bowl.
Raised toilet seats are easy to both fit and remove which is ideal for cleaning, as well as for travel, or if there are multiple users in a household. Often, a clip-on raised toilet seat will be slightly easier to fit and remove, but it is highly dependent on the users’ needs. As with all bathing aids, there is a range of choices and options available.
How Does A Raised Toilet Seat Help?
Going to the toilet is something that we all need to do regularly and something that most people want to continue to be able to manage independently and without assistance. As an OT, people having difficulty getting on and off the toilet is something that I encounter regularly. This may be due to hip, or knee problems, difficulty bending to sit down, or reduced strength and stamina to get back up from the toilet. This is when a raised toilet seat can help.
Raising the height of the toilet reduces the need to bend and can make getting on and off the toilet seat safer and easier to manage.
Another benefit of a raised toilet seat mobility aid is how quick and simple they are to fit and remove. This makes them ideal for people who may only need assistance whilst they are recovering from illness, or surgery, or for travel. For other people however, they can provide a long-term solution to a daily problem and help to maintain a person’s independence and dignity when it comes to using the toilet.
What Should I Remember When Using?
For me, the two most important things to remember are – correct seat height and safe fitting.
Always ensure that the raised toilet seat is high enough, but not too high. This needs to be measured and calculated correctly, so that your feet are flat on the floor whilst using the toilet.
When it comes to fitting, it is important to make sure that the raised toilet seat is fitted correctly and that it is fully compatible with your toilet. Most raised toilet seats will fit most standard toilets, but before each use, make sure that the seat is fitted securely and that it has not come loose.
Overall, What Would I Recommend?
Raised toilet seats are an ideal way of being able to use the toilet safely, by increasing its height and making it easier to get on and off. They can generally be fitted without needing to remove your existing toilet seat and are easy to fit and remove and can be adjusted by brackets on either side of the seat. They can make a big difference to people, for a modest outlay, as they don’t tend to cost too much.
Raised toilet seats are convenient, hygienic and portable. They can maintain safety and independence when it comes to toileting. It is just important to make sure that the seat height is correct and that the seat is fitted correctly.
I hope that this has been useful as a guide. Please get in touch if you have any questions about these, or any other, daily living aid.
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