If you’ve visited our hospital in the past couple of weeks you may have seen the new toilet block off the main foyer is now open and further improvements will be made this week to make them even better for patients, visitors and staff who have a stoma.
The new toilets are designed to be used by everyone at our hospital, including those with disabilities and hidden disabilities. In addition to the standard disabled toilets, and those for men and women, there is also a new Changing Places toilet, plus baby changing facilities and a gender neutral toilet, and adaptations are due to be made this week to make the disabled toilets more suitable for patients and staff with stomas.
Stoma patients have unseen disabilities and, although entitled to use disabled toilets, can sometimes face verbal abuse when trying to access them. They, along with others who may not immediately appear to be disabled, have a hidden disability and, as part ensuring our facilities are suitable for all, adjustments are being made to accommodate all needs.
Vicki Blackwell, who has had a stoma for seven years and now helps run a support group for fellow patients, said the developments were very welcome.
“This is one of the things highlighted by our group. Only very small adjustments – in this case the addition of a hook – can make a real difference to patients and make it much easier to use public bathrooms such as those in the hospital.”
Our Estates Officer Chris Green said; “We will gradually be rolling out the hooks to all our accessible toilets – starting with the new block that has just been opened off our main foyer during the next week or so and then updating our other bathrooms as soon as we can.”
Clinical Nurse Specialist Sister Helen Cox said; “It’s not only our patients. We know that we have staff members with stomas and this is about making things easier for everyone. The new block already has a Changing Places toilet so making this simple adjustment for our stoma patients is another step to ensure we provide the best facilities for everyone.”
The new toilet block has been constructed in a courtyard area opposite the M&S food store. They provide modern facilities which relace ageing toilets which were in need of refurbishment. The new facilities consist of:
Male/female toilets with more cubicles
Three accessible toilets for patients/carers with disabilities, one of which is also a gender neutral bathroom
A ‘Changing Places’ accessible toilet.
Director of Finance Mark Flynn said:
“A great deal of thought and planning has gone into creating these new facilities, which are modern and suitable for all visitors to our hospital.
“We’ve made sure that the project has delivered good value for money – and have achieved this by financing it through the income stream generated by lease arrangements for the M&S outlet.”
“We’re particularly pleased that we’ve been able to incorporate a ‘Changing Places’ toilet into the scheme, as we know that standard accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability.”
People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well people with other physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis often need extra equipment and space to allow them to use toilets safely and comfortably.
These needs are met by Changing Places toilets, which provide facilities including a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench, a hoist system, enough space for a disabled person and their carers and a non-slip floor.
The Changing Places toilet at our hospital is available not only to disabled people and their carers who are visiting the hospital – but those who may be passing en-route elsewhere who wish to use the facility.
Access to the Changing Places toilet requires a ‘radar’ key, which is only issued to those eligible to use such facilities.
For more information about the Changing Places Consortium, visit www.changing-places.org