Campaigners are calling for fully accessible “changing places” toilets in public areas
Changing Places was launched in the UK in 2006 and there are now 1305 Changing Places facilities across the UK. They have been placed in key public spaces such as shopping centres, large railway stations, leisure complexes such as aquatic facilities, and recreational and sporting complexes such as the zoo and football stadiums.
The introduction of Changing Places has opened up a world of possibility for the 230,000 individuals who require specialised toilet facilities and their families. People with complex and multiple disabilities were able to be involved in the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the availability of Changing Places toilets at the various sites and venues.
Likewise, the presence of Changing Places has conferred various benefits and advantages to the venues and communities which have installed them.
Changing Places are more accessible than standard accessible toilets
Changing Places facilities are different from standard accessible toilets. They have many features and additional equipment that make them even more accessible than the standard accessible toilets we are all familiar with. Changing Places facilities provide 12m² of floor space and include both a full room coverage ceiling track hoist, a centrally located toilet bowl with space either side for transfers or assistants, and a height-adjustable adult sized changing bench.
Enhancing Health, Safety, Comfort and Dignity
Changing Places facilities are designed to enhance the health, safety, comfort and dignity of someone who may need extra support and additional equipment during personal care tasks. Changing Places facilities also offer added safety and support features for assistants.
Standard disabled accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all people with complex disabilities. For example, individuals with conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, and older people with physical disabilities may need extra equipment facilities to enable them to use the toilet, maximising independence and comfort.
Sadly, many people with disabilities have to go through the indignity and unhygienic option of being changed on the floor of a public toilet as the correct facilities are not available in public places.
Changing Places Ireland
Changing Places Ireland is a welcome addition to many Irish people with disabilities and their families. The aim of their campaign is to promote the inclusion of changing places facilities in public places nationwide. Thousands of people need Changing Places facilities to enable them to get out and about and enjoy the day-to-day activities that many of us take for granted.
Some Places with fully accessible facilities
IKEA has opened a fully accessible facility at their Ballymun store in Dublin.
Trinity College Dublin has installed a fully accessible Changing Places toilet facility with a height-adjustable bench and hoist.
Follow the link below to see the positive impact Changing Places is making:
Follow the link below to read about the Changing Places campaign: