Following on from my previous post about Mobiloo, I thought I would talk to you all about an important campaign that ties in perfectly their mission. In fact, Mobiloo was created by a family that know all too well about how hard it is to find a Changing Places toilet. So not only have they created a fantastic organisation, but they also front the Changing Places Campaign! Until I became dependent on the use of a wheelchair, I didn’t have to worry finding a suitable toilet outside of my house. But I now have to plan every outing in advance, to ensure there is an accessible toilet in close proximity. Thankfully there is usually at least one around, but for some people standard disabled toilets just aren't sufficient.
These photos show some of the signs for the Changing Places Toilet in Newcastle Airport!
A standard accessible toilet is typically:
larger in size than a normal cubicle/toilet area,
has multiple handrails in various areas,
has a low sink,
has room to transfer from your wheelchair to the toilet. (Although this doesn’t always happen and not everyone can transfer from both sides).
Sadly for those people who are unable to sit on a toilet, usually have to depend on someone to lie them down, change them, access any lines/catheters/feeding tubes they may have and manage their cleanliness! This is why Changing Places Toilets have many additional features that are designed to assist people with various abilities, including:
a large changing table, which can be adjusted in height and/or position,
a wide roll of paper to cover the bed,
either a tracking or mobile hoist,
a toilet that has space to accommodate transfers on either side,
a sink that has knee space underneath it and if possible, can be adjusted in height,
enough space for a disabled person and up to 2 carers,
additional space to manoeuvre equipment.
Over a quarter of a million people in the UK need access to a Changing Places toilet, but there are only just over 1,000 facilities across the UK. This may seem like a lot, but it isn’t when you consider the size of the country and the amount of public places. In the hope of improving this statistic, the amazing Changing Places Consortium was created. It was launched in 2005 and was formed by a group of organisations, who are passionate about fighting for what is right on behalf of people with both physical and learning difficulties. The Consortium is currently campaigning for Changing Places toilets to be installed in all big public places, in addition to a standard accessible toilet. Such modifications would give disabled people the freedom to get out; to visit the shops; to attend hospital appointments; to enjoy life outside of their home and to socialise. But most importantly, to have the same dignity as everyone else.
Can you imagine having to plan every outing around the location of a toilet?
Can you imagine having to change your plans, simply because there isn’t a suitable facility?
Can you imagine having to lie on a toilet floor so somebody can change you?
Can you imagine what it feels like to be denied a basic human right?
I know from my own personal experiences, I am very conscious about keeping my bag off the toilet floor; so to know that some people have no choice but to lie there simply breaks my heart. It’s also worrying to think about how many different bugs/bacterias are on the floor of a toilet cubicle, especially considering many disabled people have a weakened immune system. Not only is the risk of infection another reason to campaign for suitable facilities, but their carers are also at risk of injury from moving, lifting and handling a disabled person. There are children and adults across the country who are being denied access to so many places, all because people/workplaces are not installing Changing Places toilets. So please visit the Changing Places sites linked below for more information on how you can help support this campaign!
Want to get Involved? - http://www.changing-places.org/get_involved.aspx
Looking to install a Changing Places toilet? - http://www.changing-places.org/install_a_toilet.aspx
Find a Changing Places Toilet near you! - http://www.changing-places.org/find_a_toilet.aspx
Real Life Stories - http://www.changing-places.org/real_life_stories.aspx