Helpful or not – petitions

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There are over 80 petitions on Change.org calling for signatures to back calls to governments and businesses for accessible toilets. Most are by individuals calling particularly for Changing Places toilets.

Are petitions helpful?

Psychologically petitions and demonstrations by disabled people and carers are useful – providing the 'I feel I am doing something rather than nothing'. People who sign genuinely want to say 'this needs to change'. However, the reality is that petitions rarely achieve results.

No amount of signatures is going to change the law or monitor adherence to building regulations. In the UK, the government have heard, via parliamentary debates, how we need accessible toilets. They end with empty promises.

As we speak the draft of revised access standards has been drawn up – setting British standards for what could be used in buildings which last over 50 years. They don't include any change to toilet provision. They are based on the dimensions of wheelchairs, for example, from 20 years ago. Petitions won't impact these.

Dilution of support

Petitions aim for x number of signatures …. people might sign one or two but 80? If campaigns were centralised into one petition there could be thousands of supporters rather than a few hundred.

Change in strategy

The movement to ensure toilets for all is disjointed. Often it's based on promoting the needs of children rather than the needs of disabled people of all ages. People with obesity, dementia and autism are often totally ignored. Many campaigns are based on the need for hoists and changing benches – yet we still have toilets being built that are supposed to follow strict building regulations, but don't for 'independent' disabled people. There are failings at every level. Equality laws do nothing to persuade businesses that disabled people need accessible toilets.

What can we do to actually make a difference?

  • Share a petition rather than recreate one for yourself
  • Look out for opportunities to comment on building regulation guidance, local access consultations, health consultations etc.
  • At every opportunity provide feedback about toilet access. Use social media, review websites, council feedback forms, patient feedback cards at hospitals etc.
  • Use formal complaints procedures.
  • Write to your MP
  • Provide witness statements for parliamentary debates

Sounds like a lot of effort? That's why it's easier to sign a petition and have our social guilt relieved – we've done all we can, right? Now everything will be ok?

No it won't – but deep down you know that.

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FAQ: The RADAR accessible toilet key

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What is a RADAR Key?

The RADAR key opens toilets fitted with the RADAR National Key Scheme (NKS) locks. Toilets fitted with these are for the use of disabled people and are found all over the country (e.g. pubs, restaurants, leisure venues, tourist places, shopping centres, stations, airports etc).

Why is it called a RADAR Key?

The NKS scheme used to be administered by an organisation called RADAR (The Royal Association for Disability Rights). This has now merged with two other organisation to become Disability Rights UK. The name RADAR Key has stuck since then and is was going to be relaunched but this no longer appears to be the case.

What types are there?

There are two types – one with a small head and one with a very large head for people with grip or dexterity difficulties. Both are silver with the word RADAR RADAR_lockKey embossed on them and will fit into an NKS lock which looks like this:

They are long handled to bypass vandal protection blocks built into doors.

Who can have one?

Any individual with an impairment / medical condition who needs access to these larger toilets or hygiene facilities or needs facilities to assist mobility or navigation (such as hand rails, lower basin, contrasting colours, different toilet height or seat arrangement, changing table, hoist for example).

One downside is that you do not need proof of need to purchase one so parents and non disabled people can abuse the scheme.

Where do I buy a genuine key from?

You can buy genuine keys from http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org. At the time of writing (updated August 2016) they cost £4.50 (RADAR, when audited showed no profit in the keys – they actually made a loss at this price).

Disabled_Toilet_Key

Genuine RADAR disabled toilet key

The Blue Badge Company are also promoting a genuine key with a blue handle for £6.00 image

 

I have seen them for sale elsewhere – do they work?

Fake RADAR Key

Fake RADAR Key

There are hundreds of places claiming to sell ‘genuine’ keys including many prominent charities and mobility shops. One of the reasons for relaunching a new key is to avoid people being ripped of by fakes that may be so rough cut and out of shape that they don’t easily open toilets, if at all.

Tom Gordan from their sales team told me:

“Disabled people need genuine Radar keys because they are dependent on them to open what is often the sole toilet which they can use. 
Genuine keys genuinely work all the locks because they have extra machining processes and are more reliably cut and also more accurately cut.
Each one is tested on a radar toilet lock (not the padlocks which are a more basic mechanism) by a master locksmith to guarantee that a disabled person does not suffer.
Identification of genuine keys is easy – if it says “radar” on it, it is a genuine radar key. If it doesn’t then it is an inferior copy.
Including postage, the majority of the dodgy keys are sold for more than genuine ones direct from Disability Rights UK, so the confusion leads to those copies creating both awkward situations and extra cost.”

How do I find a toilet?

A booklet for regional locations is available on their website costing £3.50. However, it will cost you £70 to purchase all regions.

The majority of toilets use the scheme so it’s probably best to just follow signs to toilets/accessible toilets as anyone would do.

A new RADAR Key App will be available around September 2016 listing toilet locations.

Why are accessible toilets often locked with these in the UK?

Many places choose to install NKS locks on their toilets to keep them clean and reduce the chance of them being abused by people who don’t need to use them, vandalised or used for drugs, sexual activity or a wide range of other things.

 

 

 

 

 

Launching our new campaign

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Campaign_header.jpg

Today we launch our new campaign #BiggerIsBetter [Bigger Is Better].

We hear over and over again how much people struggle with the size of wheelchair accessible toilets.

Unfortunately, the size suggested by building regulation guidance is far too small for the types of wheelchairs and scooters that people use today.

We need to raise awareness and explain why meeting  building regulations does not mean they are meeting their legal duties to provide usable toilets under the Equality Act [Disability Discrimination]. Very few businesses are aware of this.

Wheelchair users can often not get into these toilet spaces, turn around or transfer safely. They become unusable. An unusable toilet might as well not be built.

Every toilet that gets built to this size could mean decades of  being unable to use that toilet. If nothing happens now – the future will remain bleak.

If the standards are not going to change, then the only way forward is to reach out to as many businesses and new developments as possible and encourage them to see that bigger is better.

 

We need to encourage larger spaces and where possible Space to Change or Changing Places. Without larger spaces, wheelchair and scooter users will continue to struggle to live as equal citizens in the UK.

Please join the campaign and help spread the word. Share our posters, pictures and your experiences.

Bigger_Is_Better_Poster1.jpg

What’s at Naidex in the loo department?

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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!

First up – the Innovation Trail

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.

Geberit_AquaClean_8000plus_care.jpgThe 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.

Other products and companies to check out.

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.

  • Product list searches do not appear to bring up all products shown within individual companies e.g. search for sling and it says there are only 5 products.
  • Toilet brings up 26 products – somewhat disappointing considering how critical/essential it is.
  • Could not find any ostomy products listed. Coloplast – are you there?

Aquarius Hygiene

As well as their new Intelligent Bidet, their other products include the Porta Bidet and Handy Bidet travel kit.

ArjoHuntleigh: 

Products include the Carendo over the toilet shower chair/hygiene chair and shower tables/changing benches.

Designability

Toilet Handles

Toilet_Handles.jpg

Ergolet – Hera Hygiene chair and changing trolley/bench amongst others.

Hera_hygiene_chair.jpg

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.

 

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NRS Healthcare: Bringing out the new SeaHorse models of toileting and shower chairs for children and young adults. (Stand J7)

Pressalit Care

“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

Baros_Commode.jpg

They have the Baros – a heavy duty heigh adjustable shower commode/ over the toilet commode for people with obesity

Finally the things that aren’t disability specific …

The BlueBadge Company are selling toiletry bags.

 

Guide 3 – Going beyond the minimum requirements

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Our third guide can be downloaded from: Links and resources page.

Beyond_standards

Going beyond the minimum requirements

Our 26 page guide looks at why going beyond the standards is often required to avoid discrimination, promote social inclusion and welcome all disabled employees, visitors, customers and volunteers.

We hope you will find the information useful if you:

  • Are passionate about improving the accessibility and usefulness of toilets for disabled people through campaigns and personal discussions.
  • Wish to raise discussions with a business concerning a difficulty you have had accessing or using provided toilets.
  • Are designing or submitting planning applications involving a new accessible toilet or altering existing ones.
  • Are responsible for the maintenance of sanitation facilities.
  • Are planning an event or function and assessing the sanitary needs of potential visitors.
  • Are a business, who provides toilets for disabled staff, visitors, customers and volunteers – and wishes to provide the highest possible standard of ‘away from home’ toilets.
  • Are committed to the welcoming provision of a truly accessible toilet to demonstrate your commitment to social inclusion and equality.

 

Contents

Current types of accessible toilets
Legal requirements
Be aware of ‘Compliant Doc M toilet packs’
Difficulties people have using accessible toilets
How AD M introduces barriers to using the toilet 
Toilet height
Support / grab / hold rails
Barriers relating to support rails
Privacy
Space considerations 
Space is needed to do a range of activities in the toilet.
Space requirements in the Building Regulations. 
People who are unable to stand or balance on a toilet.
Barriers to using the toilet, in the minimum provided space.
What research tells us about the size of wheelchairs.
Inadequate space to transfer from the side of the toilet.
Space needs of Carers / Assistants.
Turning circle space inadequacy
Baby Changing and Odour sensitivity.
Emergency cords tied up or not present.
Ensuring the toilet is available.
Assistance with hygiene.
Thank you to: 

 

Guide 2 – What makes a toilet accessible?

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Our second guide can be downloaded from: links and resources page.

What_makesWhat makes a toilet accessible? An introduction to the needs of disabled people and assistants/carers.

A 30 page guide providing a brief introduction into the facilities that should be provided in a public accessible toilet to ensure dignity, safety and equality of toilet and hygiene provision.

We hope you will find the information useful if you:

  • Are passionate about improving the accessibility and usefulness of toilets for disabled people.
  • Wish to raise discussions with a business concerning a difficulty you have had accessing or using provided toilets.
  • Are building a new toilet or upgrading your existing facilities.
  • Are responsible for the maintenance or cleaning of sanitation facilities.
  • Are designing or submitting planning applications involving a new accessible toilet or altering existing ones.

 

Contents

About this Guide
Contents
Toilet types and signage
Three types of toilet
Legal requirements
Disability Equality
Building Regulations and British Standards
Health and inclusion
What should I find in a new accessible toilet?
Unisex, individual accessible toilets.
Changing Places toilets using BS 8300 (2009)
Accessibility features
Door entry and locking
Lights and accessories
Toilet height and seat type
Washing / drying toilets
Other accessibility features
Examples of a stylish toilet that is not accessible
Sinks and their function
Use of toilet paper
Facilities for people with bladder and bowel disorders
Availability – an important part of accessibility
Provision for people to manage their bladder/bowel
People who have an ostomy
Using the toilet whilst standing, or sitting in a wheelchair.
People who use a hoist
Needs of Carers / Assistants
People with other needs
Privacy
Stigma
Thank you to…

 

*AD M = Approved Document M.  This is available from the official planning portal web-site [http://www.planningportal.gov.uk] for the most up to date information and documents.

Launching 3 exciting publications

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Today we launch the first of 3 new publications that you can download from our links/resources page

Legal_requirements

Guide to Accessible Toilet Standards and Equality Act Requirements.

This 17 page guide is to help raise awareness about the standards, guidelines and equality laws surrounding the provision of toilets for use by disabled people and their carers/assistants.

We hope you will find the information useful if you:

  • Are passionate about improving the accessibility and usefulness of toilets for disabled people through campaigns and personal discussions.
  • Wish to raise discussions with a business concerning a difficulty you have had accessing or using provided toilets.
  • Provide toilets for disabled staff, visitors, customers and volunteers – and wish to provide the highest possible standard of ‘away from home’ toilets.
  • Are committed to the welcoming provision of a truly accessible toilet to demonstrate your commitment to social inclusion and equality.

 

Content

British Standards and AD M 
When do AD M requirements apply?
What if a new toilet does not follow these standards?
Types of accessible toilets 
Equality of toilet provision – what the law says. 
Be aware of ‘compliant’ suppliers
The duty to make reasonable adjustment and AD M
Do I have to follow the solutions in AD M?
Employment law
Human rights
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Making adjustments 
What reasonable adjustments might include.
Auxiliary aids or services
Attracting customers and improving community inclusion
Facilities on request.
Thank you to:

*AD M = Approved Document M.  This is available from the official planning portal web-site [http://www.planningportal.gov.uk] for the most up to date information and documents.