Tell it as it is – for world toilet day.

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19th November is World Toilet Day , a global opportunity to explain how lack of toilets impacts many aspects of life.

Join our Tell It As It Is event to share your story about the lack of usable and accessible toilets in the UK.

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.

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Novamed’s unique bed hygiene / toilet system

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Novamed_Europe_-_Better_SolutionsNovamed Europe are our guest bloggers this week with their innovative hygiene / toilet solution – Solaticare .

For full information and a brochure visit: http://novamedeurope.com/products

or you can chat with them, about their product directly or over on our Toilet Talk   Face Book group.

Solaticare

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Solaticare is an exciting new solution for those who are unable to access toileting facilities independently, once in bed.

It promotes dignity by allowing the user an independent solution to the need to eliminate, although a carer may also assist in the process.

There are two options – an automatic version located in the workings of an electric bed, and a community version, which uses a specially adapted mattress placed on a standard bed, with the help of a carer.

How you use it

To use the hospital bed model, the user needs to be lying supine, without pants, sheets may remain in situ. Using the remote control, the process is initiated with the press of one button. The mattress infill moves down and away, the Solaticare suction head then rises through the mattress to its working position, in very close contact with the body. When the user urinates and/or defecates into the suction head, the sensors within the suction head will remove the waste into a hermetically sealed unit next to the bed, once this has finished, rinsing with warm water follows, and the process finishes with warm air to dry the skin. The in-built catalytic deodorizer neutralizes any unpleasant odours. Then the suction head returns to its original location, and the mattress infill returns to give a comfortable feel to the bed.

The community model requires the help of a carer to positon the suction head with its hoses in a specially designed mattress cut-out, prior to use, and then it needs removing at the end of the process. There are infill pieces to restore the mattress integrity.

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Hospital bed model

The extraction unit is located by the bed stores the clean water and waste, emptying/refilling is needed usually just once a day. The process can also be controlled from the control panel on the extraction unit. This also includes controls to personalise settings, as times and temperature can be altered to suit personal preference. There is also a voice prompt option which tells which process is in function. It also comes with an optional shower hose which helps patient shower whilst in bed.

What do you think?

It’s finally arrived – the Aquarius Porta Bidet

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I’ve been waiting a few years now for this product – and had given up all hope – then today I noticed it had arrived and was ready to purchase ….. so here it is – the Aquarius Porta-Bidet.

Aquarius

Retailing for the VAT exempt price of £195 (free carry case if you order now worth £25) this might be just what you are looking for – (Pre-order price secured with a £50 deposit until March and free entry into a draw to win one for the deposit price).

I’m excited because the chances of finding a toilet that a) I can get on to and b) has a bidet feature, on holiday, is almost nil.  However, It’s the thing I love about coming back from holiday – oh how I miss my bidet!

So what has this to offer. Well, it’s battery operated which claims a powerful pushing wash nozzle and it gets the water from a reservoir container you place on the floor (so no plumbing or tampering needed).

Let’s look more carefully.

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This is a screen shot from their video on: http://www.aquariushygiene.com/2014/11/14/the-all-new-aquarius-porta-bidet/

I have a portable spray unit like this that fixes just under the lid – which I bought to make my own portable bidet. My unit came from South Korea and cost about £25 …. but pumping water through it was going to be the difficult part … so let’s see how Aquarius Hygiene do it. Interestingly (and somewhat annoying for me) they can bulk by I assume and offer this part as a replacement ‘spray arm’ for only £9.95.

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Again, I have taken a screen shot – you fill the unit with water and it has a built in pump and an on/off switch on a tethered handset (which has a hook if you want to hand it nearby). The nozzle retracts after use (and whilst I couldn’t find details on the nozzle spray unit they used – I assume it has a hygiene ‘rinse through’ to keep the nozzle clean?

The unit is a pleasing aqua green and white colour – no information on how big but here are further details:

  • It uses rechargeable batteries
  • 1.5 Litre capacity
  • Minimum of 50 wash cycles per charge
  • 4 wash cycles per reservoir
  • Under 2kg in weight.

The nozzle is not adjustable – so you get the spray wherever it lands (I know this will be problematic for me because of the way my pelvis ‘sits’ – so if you can’t sit right back on the loo or have pelvic deformity where you don’t sit ‘evenly’ you may just get a wet thigh instead. For me, some water is better than no water!

I’m pretty sure to be getting one – so I’ll give it a full review in the summer when I’m on holiday.

Until then…

But you don’t look disabled… why are you using an accessible toilet?

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I’ve written before about people who abuse accessible toilets and don’t need to use them by their own admittance.   However, amongst people who walk in and out with no obvious mobility, sensory or learning difficulty are people with hidden needs for these facilities.

Sherrill Hawker has written an excellent post for us, as our guest blogger, about why she often needs to use accessible toilets when she doesn’t look disabled.

You can read her blog on: http://ostomychampagnelifestyle.wordpress.com/

and find her on Twitter: @SherrillHawker

IMG_0085But you don’t look disabled……

This is what I am sure many people think when they see me go into a disabled toilet, especially when I use my RADAR key. I am sure people think that I am just trying to skip the queue when I hop into an empty disabled toilet, but this really isn’t the case. I don’t overly care what people think but I guess there is a small part of us all that doesn’t want people to think we are ignorant morons! And by that, I mean I would never park in a disabled bay and if I did I am sure people would secretly tut tut at me for doing so and so I suppose I don’t want people thinking that of me when I use a disabled loo.

You see, I have an Ostomy, which means I wear a stoma bag which is attached to my stomach to collect waste from my small intestine. I had a debilitating bowel disease called Ulcerative Colitis which got so bad that I had to have emergency surgery to remove my large bowel.

I don’t look disabled, there is nothing you can see by looking at me that would indicate my need for disabled facilities, I am not in a wheelchair, I don’t have any missing limbs, I am young and look fit. But what you don’t see is my stoma bag I wear beneath my clothes, the bag that fills up gradually over the day, the bag that needs emptying regularly, the bag, that if not emptied will burst and I will end up covered in poo. No-one knows you wear a stoma bag, it is impossible to tell, they are surprisingly discreet, but it is something we have no control over, we can’t tell it not to fill up, we can’t hold on to it until it is more convenient. So when the need arises to empty, I personally prefer to do it in slightly more private surroundings. Like any poo, it smells, but unlike (and I know this may be a bit TMI!) people with large intestines, it is more acidic, more raw, it hasn’t gone through the usual bodily processes. So it’s nice to have some privacy and not feel paranoid about the smell. Now, I generally don’t care what people think, I am not going to see them again, and when I have to use a ‘normal’ toilet I have deodorising sprays and perfume which helps, but I still like the privacy. There are also times in which I may need to change my bag, it is rare, as once done at home I tend to be ok for the day but every now and then, the inconvenient leak happens which requires a change of bag. Can you imagine trying to manoeuvre yourself in the smallest cubicle known to man, having to deal with changing a bag and all the paraphernalia that goes with it, plus the need for access to water?

Unfortunately, people assume that to use a disabled toilet you must look disabled, what people don’t realise is that there are people like myself who need use of a disabled loo.

I think the worse thing for me is when I may go to a busy bar or club on a weekend. It fills me with dread that I may need to use a ‘normal’ toilet to empty, as I have said, I am not ashamed, but on a busy weekend, where alcohol is involved, people are unforgiving and not backward about coming forward if they think the cubicle smells. It’s a horrible experience and one I try to deal with as best I can, I just get on with it, but it is these times especially that I prefer a disabled loo. But you know what? In a busy bar or club the disabled toilet tends to be locked and only a member of staff can open them (they often don’t use the RADAR key system).  This means that I have to find a member of staff to open it for me and then I am having to explain why I need to use it when they tell me it is for disabled people only!! I could name and shame but I won’t, but the point is that I don’t want to have to explain myself to anyone, why should I? I understand that they are worried about drugs but why should those of us that don’t look disabled need to explain our reasons? Fortunately (well the majority of the time) it isn’t an ‘emergency situation’, when I had Ulcerative Colitis (which basically means you have barely any control over your bowels) if I had to stop to ask for a key or try to find a member of staff then I may have sh** myself there and then!!

So, I guess what I am trying to say is don’t judge those who don’t look disabled but need to use a disabled toilet, bars & clubs listen up and do something about your locked disabled loo situation so those like me, don’t have to explain ourselves and if you walk into a toilet cubicle that smells, before you turn your nose up in disgust, just think that someone may be really suffering.

 Post comment: This post has had a number of people contact us via Twitter, sharing similar experiences and blogs they have posted on the same topic. Here is one of them below:

Disabled people made to cross their legs and choose between the toilet or eating.

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This week is nutrition and hydration week (nutritionandhydrationweek.co.uk). Its a global movement to reinforce ideas about the importance of good nutrition and hydration in health and social care settings.  Lack of usable toilets in health service venues (e.g. no toilets for hoist users in the majority of hospitals and clinics etc), people’s homes and communities is having serious health consequences. We highlight these in the article. 


Care and assistance at home

Back in the 90’s I was starved after an operation – simply because the nurses didn’t have time to feed me. I am unable to move my arms to feed myself and couldn’t even reach a drink… so at home, you would think people would have easy access to food and drink – and of course the toilet afterwards? 

The indignity of poor social care at home – starving and dehydrated, then left to wet yourself.

The reality is that disabled people (including older people of course) are forced into terrible situations and decisions with regards to eating, drinking and using the toilet.

1) Poor equipment provision resulting in unnecessary surgery

A few years ago someone who couldn’t move their limbs, needed 24 hour home care and could only eat and drink sitting upright. However, because the NHS Wheelchair Service failed to provide a chair that was suitable, they couldn’t sit up properly – and had to be fed/hydrated by a feeding tube.  I find this shocking.  Lack of funding and specialist skills to provided posture related equipment like seating systems can lead to disabled people having limited control over IF they eat and drink orally.

2) Lack of timely equipment and ‘cost’ is forcing people to use incontinence pads.

Secondly, if people don’t have the right equipment to use the toilet or a commode – at a time which they need it, they can be forced to wet themselves if left for long periods.   

Several families I was involved with when I worked in Adult Services were trying to adjust to a family member leaving hospital and returning home with reduced mobility. Some were ‘bed blocking’ because toilet equipment not being available. In one case, because a commode couldn’t be provided for the day they left, they were told to go home and use continence products.  It is disgusting that, lack of equipment can force people to sit all day and night on continence pads. It was deemed cheaper than ‘home care’ to help the person use the toilet and that is one of the reasons they gave.  This is both undignified and stressful  – and can lead to other problems, increased clothes washing and infections waiting for someone to change pads.

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3) Lack of home care forcing people to choose between eating / drinking or using the loo.

Many disabled people only get allocated a few hours of home care at critical times such as getting up, going to bed and using the loo once or twice inbetween. I experienced that for many years. The result is that you become frightened of wetting yourself or not being ready to go when the carer arrives – so you don’t drink (and many damage their kidneys) You definitely stay off any spicy foods which might require a sudden trip to the loo! It’s not a very nice way to live and can damage your health. Social services just reply with ‘use incontinence pads’ or ‘get a catheter’ – they have said that to me personally and told me to tell that to others.

4) Short, 15 minute home care visits – choose between having help to eat OR using the loo (and quickly at that).

There is nothing humane about social care allowing 15 minute home care visits. To find out more about the campaign to end this visit  http://www.leonardcheshire.org/campaign-us/take-action/make-care-fair#.Uyc1wXnO90h

5) Lastly, lack of large, usable, accessible toilet facilities for the disabled and older public to use, can lead to poor nutrition and hydration. This then causes serious medical problems.

So many ‘accessible’ toilets are simply not accessible. E.g. an accessible toilet inside the Ladies WC facilities is useless if you need the assistance of a male carer/assistant. A wheelchair accessible toilet that is only big enough for manual chair users is no use to a powered chair user. An accessible toilet without a hoist or changing bench, if you need one of these, is equally of no use. A toilet which isn’t height adjustable will block your use if you can’t stand up from a sitting position (but can walk).  

I’m not talking about ‘struggling’, I’m talking about not being able to use the toilet at all. 

The only option is again, not to drink, watch what you eat or stay at home. Even people who don’t use wheelchairs might not have the right facilities they need in an ‘accessible’ toilet or find it abused, dirty, used for drugs or a range of other purposes (other than a toilet!). 

Women are usually more severely effected because they physically need to sit on the toilet and can’t use a bottle.