This World Toilet Day, Occupational Therapist, Samantha Shann explores the right to safe sanitation for all and what that means for disabled people and their families, here in the UK.

Everyone has occupational rights, including access to clean, appropriate toilet and sanitation facilities, which is at the core of the Changing Places Campaign. The Campaign supports the rights of people with profound and multiple learning and/or physical disabilities, to access their community by advocating for specialist toilet facilities. Changing Places Toilets (CPTs) provide more space (a minimum of 12m²)  than a normal accessible toilet, to enable room for two carers, as well as extra equipment including an adult-sized, height-adjustable changing bench, ceiling-tracking hoist and privacy screen.

The principles of the Changing Places Campaign promote occupational justice. Facilities are now compulsory in many new public buildings, thanks to recent changes in legislation as a result of tireless lobbying by campaigners. However, CPTs are still in limited supply across the UK and awareness of the need is still low amongst the general population.

Samantha Shann, Occupational Therapist.

Occupational Justice is the right of every individual to be able to meet basic needs and to have equal opportunities and life chances to reach toward her or his potential.

– Wilcock & Townsend, 2000.

Lack of access to appropriate facilities makes it difficult for disabled people and families to engage in community based activities and occupations leading to occupational deprivation. This exclusion from participation due to environmental factors can be viewed as occupational marginalisation, whereby persons are denied access to their community.

It is essential that we get behind the Campaign and advocate for human rights for all, including those with disabilities. Access to safe, useable sanitation facilities enables participation not just in the specific activity of toileting but the wider aspect of social participation.

As one of the original sponsors of the Changing Places Campaign, Closomat has been providing design advice, specification, installation and maintenance of Changing Places toilets since 2009. The company has supported hundreds of successful projects up and down the UK in a variety of different sectors – from big retail units to zoos, through to travel hubs and conference centres in both new build projects and refurbishment of existing spaces.

For any assistance regarding equipment or installation, please contact