Changing Places toilets are different to standard disabled toilets with extra features and more space to meet the needs as described below.
What are Changing Places?
Standard disabled toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability - or their carers. Inadequate, inaccessible facilities can create barriers for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as other serious impairments such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or an acquired brain injury, getting out and about. People with such disabilities often need extra facilities to allow them to use the toilets comfortably.
Why are Changing Places toilets important?
Thousands of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities cannot use standard accessible toilets. They need support from one or two carers to use the toilet or to have their continence pad changed.
Standard accessible toilets do not provide changing benches or hoists. Most are too small to accommodate more than one person. Without Changing Places toilets, the person with disabilities is put at risk, and families are forced to risk their own health and safety by changing their loved ones on a toilet floor. This is dangerous, unhygienic and undignified.
It is now accepted and expected that everyone has a right to live in the community, to move around within it and access all its facilities. Government policy promotes the idea of 'community participation' and 'active citizenship', but for some people with disabilities the lack of a fully accessible toilet is denying them this right.
St Helier Changing Places
The Parish of St Helier worked in close liaison with 'The Changing Places Consortium' in order to provide adequate facilities that are able to meet high standards as set by the Changes Places Consortium.
By providing enough space, privacy and appropriate equipment, the Parish is supporting carers to look after people with disabilities in dignified and hygienic conditions without endangering their own health. Putting careful thought into the design of toilet facilities can open a world of possibilities for people with severe disabilities, ensuring everybody can get out and about to enjoy St Helier.
The Parish entered St Helier Changing Places in the 2012 toilet of the year awards and are delighted that St Helier Changing Places was awarded the Platinum Award which is the top award at the Loo of the Year competition for Changing Places.