A grant can now be applied for to install Changing Places toilets in NHS hospitals.
A grant can now be applied for to install Changing Places toilets in NHS hospitals.
You were having a nice day out until you took a tumble and you’re now bleeding profusely from your knees and elbows …. off to the first aid room you go.
Would you accept treatment if the first aid room was a toilet / restroom and the ‘seating/rest’ area was a bed near the toilet that had previously been used to change a filled nappy?
Would you be thinking ‘surely this isn’t the right environment to treat an open wound?’
I think most of us would be quite shocked to know that first aid rooms at some public venues / tourist locations are being offered up as ‘toilets’ to disabled people? Did you know that disabled people are having soiled pads changed on first aid beds? Some disabled people may be using camping toilets or commodes in the same space.
Should this be allowed? Let’s look at the issues.
[Article by Louise Watch. Louise has formerly worked for 7 years managing mobile and static first aid posts at public event and venues. Louise also uses a wheelchair and hoist].
There are large numbers of visitors to public events who can not use standard ‘accessible toilets’. On a number of occasions first aiders and ambulance staff have had to help people who have not been able to get up from the toilet or who have fallen – usually because the space has been too small to use safely.
Some people need carer support, space, a hoist to transfer from wheelchair to toilet or a bed to lay on to remove clothing, use a catheter, have a continence pad changed. However, venues across the world have been declining to put in suitable toilet facilities known as Changing Places, and instead are telling visitors with these requirements, to use the first aid room.
Wrong. Most are not, they just need a toilet in a room with enough safe manoeuvring space or a hoist available … and first aid rooms do not have a toilet in them. They also do not have hoists or the space to use them.
I have been in hundreds of first aid rooms whilst looking after sick and injured visitors and never once seen a toilet inside. Usually there is a cupboard with medical supplies and a bed, chair, sink and maybe a privacy curtain. So how the offer of a first aid room is going to help continent disabled and older people is a mystery.
Maybe – but it’s not something a first aid room would have as standard and commodes vary a lot and come with their own hazards eg stability, wheels that need breaks on, variable heights and seat types. People can easily fall if it’s not suited to their balance or abilities. Proper accessible toilets have specific features for a reason eg
Commodes can be dangerous if they don’t match the needs of the person and can cause serious accidents.
Commodes also need to be cleaned/emptied between different people and human waste and menstrual blood has to be disposed of correctly. First aid rooms are not equipped for this which means someone will have to walk the filled pan to a nearby toilet to flush away. Will that be staff or visitors?
It is also questionable whether hygiene standards for spills and splashes could be dealt with in a first aid room environment. Infection control becomes a big issue that would probably need a full risk assessment.
People who need a bed to have a soiled pad changed could possibly use a first aid room but there would have to be a full risk assessment to look at the following areas:
The other challenge to turning your first aid room into a toilet is that it can take 40-60 minutes to hoist a disabled adult onto the treatment table, change and clean them, then get them back comfortably in their wheelchair. Then add on another 15 minutes for cleaning and disinfecting. What if there is a casualty who needs treatment during this time. Both can’t use it at the same time unless you have a first aid room laid out like a hospital with cubicles and more than one treatment area/bed.
In light of the above – no, unless the first aid room is very large and more like an A&E department with staff training to match regarding infection control and clinical waste disposal.
Even if I was offered a commode, hoist and private cubicle I would find it insulting and undignified to have to visit a first aid room, where patients might be, to use the ‘toilet’. This would not be equality in terms of bathroom provision. It is certainly not an appropriate solution for the hygiene needs of older and disabled visitors/guests.
The usefulness of toilet finding/rating Apps rely on many things such as:
Here are a few worth looking at – each had its own merits so tell us what you think (and let the website/App developers know so they can hopefully make them better suit your needs).
They are all free at the time of listing.
I thought this App had great potential and the developers responded positively to feedback. This is both a rating and finding App. You can rate virtually every toilet feature including access features and cleanliness. Changing Place toilets are included as a review type – and a photo can be submitted for elements you wish to highlight. Reviews are personal reflections which is something to consider but with enough contributors and a date the reviewer visited that facility, this could become a leading database to look at.
This App is by the RADAR Key Company and is free to download:
You do not have to enter your e-mail to go into the App. A web version also exists with enhanced features. This is a toilet finding App for Changing Places toilets which have a hoist and changing bench. The title is somewhat misleading as this is not the Changing Places Consortium map. Here are some screen shots. The inclusion of data such as whether you need to pay, need a NKS (RADAR) key or if locked is very helpful.
A quick test did not reveal all the sites registered on the CP Consortium map – but it did list toilets that didn’t meet the full CP criteria which was useful. You can let them know if a toilet is missing.
Tom Gordon from the company who is involved with the App tells us:
“Our updated Changing-Places-Toilet-Finder website and phone apps (Apple and Android) are free from http://www.loo.org
Ours was the very first one, has 200 more toilets than the British Toilet Association have on theirs, more accurately described and with a more intuitive design of programme.
A similar free website for accessible toilets will follow, so the 5 year old sheets from Disability Rights UK will then be able to be binned.
Next is map that is perhaps the most familiar to hoist and bench users.
The Changing Places Consortium have their own map of registered CP toilets viewable at:
The one function I’d really like to see developed is to search by venue type eg to search for ‘zoo’ or ‘restaurant’ rather than just by location. I’d also like a map somewhere of hoist assisted toilets for people who don’t need a bench or perhaps more info on equipment eg if a toilet riser or bidet is provided.
Speaking of bidets, Closomat have a map where you will find their toilets – also useful if you want to try one out.
Lastly this website seems to have lost its place (and funding). You can enter toilet data in a basic format but to be honest, it’s pretty poor.
As you can see it never found any toilets near me.
Other sites that list some details about toilets at venues include Euan’s Guide ( a review site where people can describe accessibility of venues including the toilets)
and Disabled Go (lots of information but not every toilet at a venue is described).
19th November is World Toilet Day , a global opportunity to explain how lack of toilets impacts many aspects of life.
Starting on the 18th of November, we will be putting up a Facebook post on our page – inviting you to tell it as it is.
How does the lack of usable / accessible toilets impact your life?
Whether it’s just a sentence or a short story or photo – please do drop by and share your story by replying to that post on the 18th or 19th.
You can also join our Twitter hashtag #tellItAsItIs and also use the main tag #WorldToiletDay
*All replies will be moderated and those advertising a product or not meeting our adult and child protection policy will not be displayed.
Every day, disabled women are choosing surgery because there are no usable toilets outside their home.
Sometimes it's an ostomy bag for poo or more frequently a supra pubic catheter.
A catheter allows urine to drain from the bladder [through a hole in the skin] into a
bag or through a valve into a bottle/toilet. It's a big life changing decision.
Getting surgery for a catheter is the most talked about topic within women's forums and social media groups.
The reason is not often for medical purposes – but simply because toilets are not accessible / available. They don't have the right amount of space or equipment to be usable. Sometimes they aren't provided at all or are padlocked. If you need a hoist then you only have a choice of around 1000 toilets – across the whole of the UK or Northern Ireland. There may be none in the county you live.
Catheters can cause regular infections and several other medical problems – yet bring an element of liberation and the ability to leave the house. They don't remove the need to manage menstruation hygiene though and many women also choose contraceptives or surgery to control this (oral contraceptives pose a high risk for blood clots in women who aren't active) – because they can't get on the toilet.
Disabled women experience the most discrimination when it comes to using toilets. They take the most life changing health risks. This has to change.
Have you had surgery because of no usable toilets? Tell us in the comments below.
Earlier this year I was delighted to be invited to contribute to the Travelling Toilet Tales film – where a number of us shared our story about planning journeys around toilet requirements. At home I have the right facilities, space, design etc … but outside the home and on holiday it’s a different story.
I chose to contribute via narrating a poem about how difficult it is to go on a day out and find a toilet that is suitable – even with the basics!
Pop to the festival to find out more, listen to our contributions and chat with those attending. I can’t go in person but I will be around on Twitter and our Facebook page to chat about the weird and wonderful (and hugely varied) toilet designs and how this can impact disabled people.
The Utopia Fair will be hosting 35 representatives from contemporary utopian movements from all over the UK on stalls in the Somerset House courtyard. The Travelling Toilet Tales stall will offer the public an exciting first glimpse of a draft of our animated Toilet Tales film. Featuring stories from a range of toilet users, including truckers, disabled parents, and non-binary people, the film is an exploration into the ways in which everyday journeys are planned around the un/availability of a suitable toilet. Visitors will also get the chance to listen to the individual toilet stories in full, browse our postcards and artwork, and talk to the special guests joining us on the stall.
Next door, the Servicing Utopia project will be joined by artists who will invite visitors to create utopian toilet models. This weekend will also present the first opportunity to view the interactive digital Toilet Toolkit and short animated film produced by the Servicing Utopia team. The toolkit is aimed at architects and other design professionals to promote the accessible design of toilet spaces and will allow users to virtually ‘walk around’ toilet spaces and interact with items within the space.
Our newest research projects, Travelling Toilet Tales and Servicing Utopia, will both appear at the Utopia Fair in Somerset House in London this weekend (24th-26th June). The Utopia Fair will be hosting 35 representatives from contemporary utopian movements from all over the UK on stalls in the Somerset House courtyard. The Travelling Toilet Tales stall […]
So, it’s that time of year again where I
laugh at have a serious look at what’s new at Naidex – the crazy convention showcase that is all things health/lifestyle/disability. We take a look at the exhibitors lists and play ‘spot the new toilet gadget’.
If you spot something we have missed – let us know!
This is the annual shortlist of products less than a year old or new ideas which are being launched at Naidex. Sometimes you see some crazy things you think ‘there is no way anyone will buy that’ through to ‘oh that’s a good idea’.
So what’s new in the toilet / hygiene department?
Well, forget taking a ride on the rotating shower tray (I kid ye not) and head over to Stand H37 for PDS Hygiene. They will be showing off their bidet shower chair (BSC-100) and what looks like a new model of their hand held powered travel bidet.
I’m not sure how the bidet shower chair would work over the Biobidet models BB1000 and later as they rely on skin contact with a sensor on the seat to power up.
If barrier creams are more your thing – then take a look at 3M’s stand over in section D38. They can show you their Cavilon Barrier Cream that can help skin that has become sore (or could become sore) from incontinence.
The new Gerberit AquaClean 8000plus Care (wow that is some name) might be worth a look (Left).
It’s a shower toilet that is compatible with many paediatric shower chairs being activated by button or remote control. I assume it is also compatible for for adult over the toilet chairs too. They are over on Stand G29B
Still on the theme of all singing and dancing toilets – Aquarius Hygiene (Stand D36) have their own version of a wash/dry toilet seat similar to the BioBidet range they are calling the Intelligent Bidet. It is powered by a tethered remote with other options available.
Looking at the picture, for my personal bum comfort, I prefer a wider and more contoured seat – and seat shape and comfort really matters as you sit through the wash and dry actions (and you have to be sitting in the right place!!). So, shop around and compare specifications according to what suits.
All the usual exhibitors are back for 2016. You might also want to check out companies selling hoists and toilet slings – although some of the big names like Liko do not appear to have a stand listed if you believe the search function.
As well as their new Intelligent Bidet, their other products include the Porta Bidet and Handy Bidet travel kit.
Products include the Carendo over the toilet shower chair/hygiene chair and shower tables/changing benches.
Ergolet – Hera Hygiene chair and changing trolley/bench amongst others.
Euan’s Guide – if you haven’t got their red cord cards, where have you been this last year! Go and take a look.
Made 2 Aid
Wheelable – an over the toilet shower chair.
NRS Healthcare: Bringing out the new SeaHorse models of toileting and shower chairs for children and young adults. (Stand J7)
“Our product range includes height adjustable washbasins, toilets, changing benches and shower seats”
Pressalit happen to have my favourite most comfortable toilet seats “accommodating different shaped toilets and people”.
1st Call Mobility
They have the Baros – a heavy duty heigh adjustable shower commode/ over the toilet commode for people with obesity
The BlueBadge Company are selling toiletry bags.