In our last article about Changing Places specifications, we looked at some of the elements that often get overlooked, including, non-slip flooring, LRV and colour contrast, the full-length mirror, a wash and dry toilet and appropriate sanitary disposal. In part two, we look at some of the larger components of a Changing Places toilet (CPT), their importance and how to ensure you are providing the best and most appropriate products. You’ll also find tips on general maintenance to ensure your Changing Places is always ready and available for those who need it.
A changing bed/bench is mandatory in a Changing Places toilet. It needs to be robust and large enough to accommodate a fully-grown adult, with a safe working load of up to 200kg. There are many choices on the market, from wall-mounted to free-standing mobile beds – great consideration needs to be given to which would be best and most appropriate for a facility.
A wall-mounted bed/bench that can be folded up to maximise space, can be a good option in a smaller or more unconventional shaped room (although all rooms need to be at least 12m²) where it may restrict movement around the facility when not being used. A free-standing mobile bed, however, is often the preferred option for carers, as it provides the ability for carers to attend either side of the bed and of course it can be moved around in the space as required. Whatever you choose, it must be fully height-adjustable to facilitate safe transfers and positioning for those performing personal care.
Whilst materials that are easy to clean and maintain are essential, thought must also be given to the comfort of these materials. For the user, the level of cushioning (or lack thereof) can make the difference between being able to use the bed or not – discomfort when lying down is common for many health and physical reasons. Whist some users and their carers may carry changing mats for hygiene purposes, it would be rare for somebody to be able to carry a mat of significant enough thickness for comfort, so this needs to be a permanent part of the fixture.
When choosing a wash basin for a facility, it is vital that it is accessible for wheelchair users and non-wheelchair users. The best way to be truly accessible is to provide a large, shallow, height-adjustable basin with concealed plumbing, so that pipes do not cause an obstruction.
They come in many shapes and forms, but we recommend and supply a basin that has an easy-to-use control for height adjustment, that can be operated by user or carer. Manually-adjusted sinks are often very heavy and awkward to operate, requiring a lot of effort.
Fixed-height sinks and very small basins (as found in a standard DOC M accessible toilet) are often unable to accommodate a larger powerchair user, where footplates on wheelchairs or the size of mobility aids can restrict how close a user is able to get to the basin and where leaning might not be physically possible.
The wash basin in a Changing Places toilet, in comparison to a DOC M accessible toilet, is not intended for use whilst sitting on the toilet. It needs to be accessed from a range of angles and must not restrict access to the peninsular toilet.
The privacy screen might not sound significant, but its importance should not be disregarded. There are many types of Changing Places users. Some might be fully independent, others supported by family members where privacy is not always a primary concern, but many will be users who require privacy when using the toilet or being changed as they will be supported by carers, support workers and PAs.
Let’s not also forget that Changing Places toilets are for carers too! When caring for somebody, it is not always appropriate or possible to leave that person outside of a space whilst using the toilet yourself. It is just as important that Changing Places facilities provide carers with a dignified solution when attending to their own needs whilst others are in the room.
The signage both inside and outside of a Changing Places toilet plays a crucial role in ensuring the facilities serve their intended purpose.
Correct signage on the outside of the Changing Places toilet, on the door or directly by the entrance, as well as general wayfinding signage in a building or location is essential so that users can easily identify and locate the facility. In most cases, it is a requirement to use the official Changing Places logo (available directly from the Changing Places official campaign) which has become an internationally recognised symbol. Closomat can help with advice on appropriate external signage.
Inside the facility, signs including operating instructions for each piece of equipment and their safe working loads, must be clearly visible and easy to understand, with visual and written descriptions. Whilst equipment in each Changing Places may look similar, they often have very different safe working practices. All products supplied by Closomat come with the correct signage, installed by us in the most appropriate location. In addition, Closomat provides all facilities funded by central government grants with any official plaques required to meet requirements.
The hoist charging point needs to be clearly indicated so that the hoist can be replaced by each user successfully. Hoist batteries need to be kept charged, so it is important when cleaning and maintaining a facility, that staff are aware of the charging point and check that the hoist is in the correct position, so that it is always ready and available for the next user. Arriving at a facility where a hoist is uncharged will render it unusable for a huge number of users. This can also damage the hoist, so it is good practice and business sense to check it regularly.
Closomat has been providing design advice and assisting in the specification, installation and maintenance of Changing Places toilets since their inception. We’ve supported hundreds of successful projects up and down the UK, in a variety of different sectors – including retail, tourist attractions, transport hubs, local authority, entertainment, hospitality and healthcare to name a few.
Our knowledge and experience will ensure your project runs smoothly from start to finish and is fully compliant with the latest building regulations and standards, so that your facility meets the needs of both business/venue and end user.