A Changing Places facility is different to a standard accessible toilet, utilising a range of equipment and design features to help severely disabled people use the bathroom in comfort. This article focusses on what is inside a Changing Places for it to be considered suitable.
What is Considered a Changing Places Facility?
There are various requirements for a restroom to be considered a Changing Places facility and use the name. This is to save time and confusion for users and ensure that facilities meet their needs.
A good place to look for guidance is BS8300 design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people. The British Standard provides guidance on how buildings should be designed, constructed and maintained to create an accessible and inclusive environment for disabled people – including the provision of sanitary accommodation.
Changing Places facilities are incorporated into the guidance, stating that they should be provided in larger buildings and complexes with public access or where visitors might be expected to spend long periods of time.
Additional information can be found in section four of the practical guide provided by the Changing Places Consortium.
What Equipment is inside a Changing Places Facility?
Below we have listed the main pieces of kit that are required for a facility to be considered as a Changing Places:
- Height Adjustable Changing Bench. An adult sized, height adjustable changing bench should be provided for those who need to be laid down for changing, dressing, or showering
- Ceiling Track Hoist. A ceiling track host which covers the whole room, enables users to be comfortably transferred between the toilet, changing bench, and washing facilities
- Toilet. The toilet in a Changing Places should be peninsula style to provide ease of access from both sides and people who are lowered by a hoist
- Height Adjustable Sink. A height adjustable sink should be provided to allow people to use it from either a seated or standing position
- Grab Rails. Grabrails and dropdown support rails should be provided to both sides of the WC to offer support to people while transferring and seated
- Taps. Should be easy to operate and configured so as not to cause confusion or injury. Mixer taps, and automatic infra-red taps should be avoided
- Privacy Screen. A mobile privacy screen should be provided. Some people only need help transferring to a toilet, so a screen affords them privacy whilst on the throne
- Shower. Showers are not an essential requirement but should be considered in leisure facilities such as swimming pools. Showers should be ‘wet room’ style, without steps and feature appropriate seating
The above list is in addition to other items, such as wide paper dispensers, assistance alarms, mirrors, and waste bins. All these features must be carefully considered when planning a Changing Places facility; to make users as safe and comfortable as possible.