When surgery is the only option.

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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.

Read above one woman's experience.

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.

Utopia Fair – what is World of Accessible Toilets doing?

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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 […]

via Utopia Fair – Join us this weekend (24 – 26 June)! — Around the Toilet

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

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

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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

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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.

 

The future of public accessible toilets

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Further improvements are needed if we really want to make ‘away from home’ toilets truly usable for all disabled people. 

The best we have in the UK are those in new buildings which have followed guidance (Approved Document M) on meeting building regulations for access/features etc.

Most places provide single room, wheelchair accessible toilets to the UK wide specified design. A small percentage also provide Changing Places toilets (which take usability a step further by providing a high/low adjustable changing bench, hoist, toilet, sink and larger space). Changing Places are encouraged but not required in buildings. 

However, I feel we need to aim higher – because even these toilets aren’t always usable by a large number of people. It’s not just a case of whether someone can urinate or deficate – it’s about comfort for different body shapes, it’s about safety, dignity and hygiene. All these support people’s physical and mental health.

What might the future look like?

Changes in the law and building regulations.

  • Improved British Standards which would feed into
  • improved design within building regulations, for new buildings (e.g. more space)

Most importantly:

  • New laws on sanitation and equality for public toilets (both around access for disabled people and access for many other users).
  • Laws that make buildings older than 2004 upgrade their toilet facilities to the current specifications to meet duties under the Equality Act (2010) around disability.

*Currently buildings only have to provide disabled access to the level that was specified in the building regulation at the time of the build. Therefore, older buildings will not have the same level of access required today or may have no access at all.

Clear signage

There are so many different symbols, signs and words – which can be confusing for people looking for a toilet. A clear system of symbols would be helpful.

Usage

Promote the proper use of accessible toilets – many people need the facilities but don’t go in because of the words ‘disabled toilet’ or a picture of a person with specific, visual, impairment (e.g. wheelchair symbol/person with a stick). We need more public awareness that toilet like these are for anyone who needs the more specialised facilities inside.

Clearly stating that baby changing should be in an accessible parent/child location would make them more easily available to those with urgency needs.

Use of technology / equipment provision to open up accessibility to more people

Significantly high numbers of people need more than just a standard toilet, shelf and sink to meet their hygiene/toilet needs.

  1. Automatic washing and drying toilets

There are hundreds of thousands of people that are unable to clean themselves easily, or where it causes them great pain or puts them at risk of falls.

  • People with upper body limb loss
  • People with muscle weakness or paralysis
  • People with back problems who can not bend or twist.
  • People with severe arthritis 
  • People with obesity
  • People with dexterity/grip difficulties
  • People with balance and coordination difficulties.
  • People with bladder/bowel disorders/ incontinence
  • People with shortened arms
  • Disabled women particularly during menstruation.

2. Toilets which can be adjusted in height

These are essential for wheelchair users where modern chairs come in a range of heights (and people generally need to be at the same height to manually transfer from chair to toilet etc). Also, people with muscle weakness, neurological impairments or those who have difficulty moving their joints may not be able to stand up from the toilet unless it can be raised up to a height which suits them.

Variable height toilets also suit many lower limb amputees and people with short legs. Adjustability is key to prevent falls and enable people to sit/stand safely and more easily.

3. Sinks which can be adjusted in height

These facilities are only ‘desirable’ and not necessary within current guidance.

Safety

Toilets do not always have none-slip floors or alarm cords. Shouldn’t these be standard in every accessible/adapted toilet?

Space

Did you know that 82% of powered wheelchairs for sale will not fit into the transfer space inside an ‘accessible’ toilet and their is not enough room for assistance (or ambulance staff to get in to help if you fall)?

Increased number of toilets

Large venues like a shopping centre or stadium may have several visitors who need highly adapted toilets – providing one Changing Places is not enough.

What about the cost?

When someone pays for a new building – an office block, hospital, cinema/shopping mall, airport, train station … there is never a question of ‘do we need to put any toilets in the building – because we might not be able to afford it’. It is a ‘given’ that for public health, toilets must be provided. So if a place is going to provide toilets – they need to be usable by everyone (or they are as good as no provision). 

Of course, accessible toilets may have additional costs to ensure the space, technology, maintenance, security etc of the above. Those with an adult changing bench and shower need even more space.

Well, how much do you value disabled people as part of your community or workforce? How much do you want their custom (and their friends/carers/family etc)? How do you put a price on doing the right thing and enabling people to leave their homes and participate in life? What about complying with the Equality Act regarding Disability Discrimination?

Let’s be blunt – how much money are you making in your business – because most of the technology and space adaptations could be done for around £10,000 – £15,000 for the full works and is very affordable.

In my own home I have space, a ceiling hoist and a height adjustable toilet that also washes and dries – for around £5000. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share your experience tool kit – challenge discrimination

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Our new guides and ‘Experience form’ make up our new tool kit to challenge discrimination.

The tool kit is available for disabled people and their assistants / carers, to enable them to approach a company who has failed to provide accessible toilets that meets their needs.

My_Experience_form

It can be the start of a conversation to challenge discrimination and provide business with an opportunity to explain their approach to equality in the area of toilet access / sanitation / hygiene provision.

 


 

Step 1:

If you have had a bad experience, either download our form (or copy and paste the text into an e-mail).

The form (and a link to a text version to copy and paste) is available from: Links and resources page

Step 2: 

To fill out a pdf. form, use the ‘text’ and ‘highlight’ functions on your pdf viewer, save it and attach it to your e-mail.

  • Even easier is to create a new e-mail, and copy and past the text straight into it  from here.

 

Completing the form:

Once you have completed your basic details, go through the list of statements in the following 10 topics:

  1. Finding and entering the toilet area
  2. Entering / securing the toilet room
  3. Inside the toilet (space/colours/lighting/equipment)
  4. About the toilet / bench / hoist
  5. Sink
  6. Accessories (e.g. mirror/dryer etc)
  7. Horizontal support rails
  8. Vertical Support rails
  9. Emergency cord
  10. Other

simply deleting the ones that don’t apply – or highlighting the ones that do.

don’t forget to attach any pictures of the toilet you had difficulties using – this is important evidence.

Step 3 – Understanding the company response

The person may respond with a general statement like ‘… we do our best to make our venue accessible and will look into it’. In which case,

  • reply with a reminder to ask if they can let you know what they found out
  • ask about what they intend on doing and
  • when you might hear back from them.

Another type of reply might be something like ‘we have already complied with Document M and provide accessible toilets’. In this instance, you may want to read and supply the company with one or more of our guides, pointing out that meeting Document M guidelines does not mean they have met their duties as required by law within the Equality Act 2010 – and that the toilets did not meet your needs.

If you are unsure what these mean, our guides will also help you understand these standards and equality law.

Our guides to support you and the company include:

You can view the contents of these by clicking on the above links. They can all be downloaded from our links and resources page.

Step 4

If you are not happy with their reply you could consider continuing your discussion with them or you could consider sharing the communications with an advisor or legal expert to explore the option of taking legal action and the costs which might be involved.

Other options might be to contact your MP and explain the difficulties you have or consider a social media or local media campaign.

Remember, you have the right not to be discriminated against and treated differently when it comes to public toilet provision or as an employee who needs accessible toilets.

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.

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?