Changing Places toilets are specifically designed and equipped to enable carers to perform routine hygiene tasks for people with highly dependent care needs. They enable a wider range of people with disabilities or high care needs to get out of the house and go about their business with dignity.
Currently standard disabled toilets or assisted WCs are designed with independent wheelchair users and mobile impaired users in mind.
However there is a significant number of people in both Ireland and the UK with Acquired Brain Injury, Stoke, Motor Neurone Disease, Dementia, Cerebral Palsy and other neurological conditions that mean they need personal assistance to use the toilet or change incontinence pads. This is not possible in a standard disabled toilet or assisted WC.
It is important to remember that Changing Places toilets should be installed in addition to standard accessible toilets. They are a separate facility to serve people with different needs, not a replacement.
Changing Places toilets have a lot more requirements than standard accessible toilets.
Each of these requirements is designed to create an inclusive environment where disabled individuals can use the toilet or be changed safely and with dignity, with assistance from relative(s) or carer(s).
Here are some examples of how each piece of specialist equipment helps to make everyday life easier for disabled people and their carers whilst out in public:
Having a minimum floor space of 12 sqm ensures there is enough room for a disabled person when they are not in their wheelchair, and up to two carers to comfortably use the facilities. The 2.4m minimum ceiling height ensures the hoist system can be used safely for lifting.
Individuals with profound disabilities typically require an electric wheelchair or powerchair because they cannot push themselves in a manual wheelchair. Many of these electric wheelchairs will be wider than the 900mm doorways included on standard accessible toilets. Providing a doorway with a 1000mm minimum width accommodates larger wheelchairs.
Including a peninsular toilet with 1m space either side ensures there is enough room for carers to assist on either/both sides. The 480mm toilet seat height facilitates easier, more comfortable transfers from wheelchair to toilet.
A height-adjustable basin provides flexibility for multi-user environments. Users of different heights, or with different size wheelchairs can use the facilities as they require.
A hoist with full room coverage allows a disabled person to be transferred from their wheelchair to the toilet or changing bench and back to their chair safely and easily. It also makes changing and toileting easier on carers as no manual handling is required.
When a changing bench is not present, disabled adults who require changing are forced to lie on the floor. This is unhygienic, undignified and unsafe for both the individual and their carer. A changing bench provides a clean and appropriate area for changing.
Including a larger sanitary bin helps to keep the Changing Places toilet clean and hygienic for all users. With a standard sanitary bin, there is a risk that they would not be emptied often enough to keep up with frequent use.
Wall Mounted Hard Panel Folding Privacy Screen
Wipeable and mobile a hard panel privacy screen is located close to the toilet to provide a more of privacy to the user while toileting.
Changing Places are more than a standard accessible toilet because they offer more specialist equipment that meets the needs of individuals with profound and complex disabilities who cannot use the toilet independently. Most significantly, Changing Places provide hoists and changing benches for people who cannot stand to get onto the toilet or who use continence products. This creates an inclusive environment which disabled people and their carers can use to meet their personal care needs – something which should be a basic right for everyone whilst out in public! In places which only have standard accessible toilets, these individuals are faced with the unacceptable options of changing on an unhygienic toilet floor or staying home.
Changing Places are more hygienic, safer, better-equipped, with enough space for disabled individuals and their carers to use them.