Changing Places toilets are for disabled children and adults who are either physically unable to manoeuvre themselves onto a toilet or who require continence aids such as nappies/padded products. A Changing Places toilet has more space than a standard disabled toilet for equipment, the disabled person and their carer(s). It also has an adult-sized adjustable height changing bench, a peninsular toilet, a tracking hoist, which can safely transfer the disabled person onto the changing bench and/or toilet and a colostomy shelf. In addition, a Changing Places toilet has a privacy screen so that carers can use a toilet discreetly, but with the reassurance that the person that they care for is safe with them.
Without these facilities, thousands of disabled people and their families are prevented from accessing their communities and are isolated. Not only do they feel excluded from society, they are faced with awful dilemmas when it comes to the disabled person’s toileting needs. For example:
· Choosing to stay at home rather than go out.
· Leaving a venue early to go home and change a loved one.
· Changing a loved one on a public toilet floor or in a car boot both of which are undignified, unhygienic and unsafe.
Some disabled people even self-medicate so that they do not “need to go” when they are out.
Changing Places toilets cater for lots of people, including people with complex learning disabilities; people with physical disabilities; older people with mobility and/or cognitive issues or dementia; and people with cancer coping with colostomy bags.
Stuff I’ve Written…
I have also written several blogs on the issue, which are linked below:
What Price Dignity? , SEN Magazine, September/October 2017 Issue
The (Real) Nappy Debate (August, 2017)
Why Our Families Need Changing Places Toilets, Central Scotland Regional Equality Council Newsletter (July, 2017)
I Shouldn’t Have To Change My Son On Toilet Floors, Mumsnet Guest Post (January, 2017)
Why Our Families Are Really Not Welcome At Scottish Events, The Huffington Post (November 2016)
Why Isn’t This News Worthy? (September 2016)
Reasonable Adjustments (June 2016)
These posts also mention my friend Lorna Fillingham’s petition, which asks the Prime Minister to ensure equality of access to disabled toilets for all by making the provision of Changing Places toilets mandatory in the buildings mentioned in BS 8300:2009.
Please sign Lorna’s petition – you can find it here.