Independence is being taken to new levels in shopping for people in and around Leeds, with what is believed to be a ‘first’ for mobility retail environments.
The Unlimited Company (previously Independent Living and part of the Simplyhealth Group) has begun a programme of creating stores that have a fresh approach to shopping for daily living aids and mobility products to answer people’s everyday needs in independence.
The new Leeds store is piloting concepts to help customers, including an accessible kitchen and bathroom, a demonstration area and even has an in-house Occupational Therapist for consultations. It is also the first store within the chain, and, it is believed in its sector in the country, to include a Changing Places assisted accessible toilet.
“The initial reaction has been great!” says The Unlimited Company’s head of buying Craig Aquilina. “The intention is to make the shopping experience easier for our customers. The nature of our business is such that people tend to spend longer in store, so may well need to visit the toilet- hence our decision to enable as many of our customers as possible to be able to benefit.
“We work closely with The OT Service; they advised we provide a Changing Places, and recommended Closomat,” added Craig. “If this proves to be effective, then it is certainly something that we will look to introduce more widely.”
Supplied and installed by Closomat, the Changing Places toilet enables anyone who needs help to go to the loo can do so, with the space and equipment they require. It is bigger than a conventional wheelchair accessible toilet, to accommodate the user and up to two carers, and further includes additional equipment- particularly a ceiling track hoist and height-adjustable, adult-sized changing bench.
To further optimise use of the facility by as many The Unlimited Company customers as possible, the conventional WC has been replaced with a Closomat Palma Vita wash & dry toilet. Looking like, and capable of being use as, a conventional loo, the Palma Vita means users are cleaned by douching and drying built into the Closomat, rather than having to wipe clean- or be wiped clean by their carer.