Independence for disabled people in Ireland is being trail-blazed at the headquarters of the country’s leading organization for people with limited mobility.

The Irish Wheelchair Association’s (IWA) Carmel Fallon Holiday Centre, located on the Association’s headquarters campus, has installed an innovative Closomat Palma Vita toilet in the centre’s main atrium, to enable IWA members to ‘go to the toilet’ unaided when visiting the facility.

Whilst it looks like a traditional WC, the Closomat incorporates integral washing and drying facilities, simply triggered by pressure on the flush pad when sat on the toilet, which enable the user to be hygienically clean after toileting with little or no help from a personal assistant. The removal of reliance on a personal assistant enhances the user’s independence, and their basic dignity and privacy. IWA’s Closomat features a plinth to raise the unit to enable easy side transfer from a wheelchair, and a touch sensitive hand/foot switch for users who are unable to use their hands or body to press the standard flush pad.

Karen Cronin, manager of the Carmel Fallon Holiday Centre, explained, “The atrium is the hub of all activity at the Centre, which caters for people with physical and sensory disabilities between the ages of 13 and 65. To us, it was the ideal place to install a Closomat, as all guests and staff can use the new toileting facility. It is very convenient and effective, and can be used by everyone, regardless of their level of disability.”

Added Andrew Smyth, Closomat area sales manager, “Most people forget how a simple thing like going to the toilet can impact on anyone who needs help to undertake this basic activity, yet it is something we all do, and on average eight times a day! It therefore makes a huge difference, psychologically and physically, to anyone who uses a wheelchair to be able to toilet without relying on their carer to help.”