aka Everybody deserves their dignity
I do not have a physical disability. My sister is in a wheelchair, as is my partner’s sister, and whilst the issue I’m addressing in this blog does not affect them directly, nobody knows what the future holds.
First, a disclaimer. This blog is not written in my professional capacity. All opinions are personal.
I’m a social media officer for a mobility equipment provider, and monitor the internet for relevant ‘mentions’. This has brought to me an awareness of the need for Changing Places facilities.
What are Changing Places?
Changing Places are accessible toilets. Not the general kind of toilet you find here, there and everywhere that only complies with Doc M regulations. Changing Places are truly accessible toilets, with changing benches for larger children and adults and hoists.
Think about these two scenarios for a moment.
You are the parent of a baby who’s done a pee or a poo in their nappy. You go to a baby changing public toilet and you have a little bench that pulls down so you can lay baby on it. What would you do if there was no little bench? Lay baby of the public toilet floor and do it? Pretty disgusting, huh?
You are the parent/carer of an older child or adult, in a wheelchair, who’s done a pee or a poo in their nappy/incontinence pants. You go to a public toilet and there’s no bench. What do you do? We’ve already determined that it’s disgusting to put anybody on a public toilet floor. Even if there was no other option than to do this, how do you get them out of their wheelchair?
Basically, whilst there are little over 1,000 Changing Places facilities, it’s inhumane that there are not more, particularly within healthcare company premises; hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and the like.
Campaigns for Changing Places
I’ve been reading blog after blog of parents and carers who are campaigning for more Changing Places facilities. This blog itself has been brought about by me being reduced to tears reading some of these today.
Take a look for yourself
Some of these parents and carers are the service users of the company I work for and the company’s service centres do not have these facilities, despite many of the service users visiting the premises. I’m making it my mission to get a Changing Places facility into all of our service centres.
What can I do?
Good question and one that I am asking myself every day. I’ve been linking to the blogs in my weekly social media report to raise awareness. If I can get at least one loo in one service centre, I’ll be a happy bunny!
• read the blogs linked above to see what those directly affected are going through
• sign petitions. Here are 21 on Change.org to get you started
• download the campaign leaflet from the Changing Places website
• share this blog!
If you don’t have time to check out all of the posts in all of the blogs, as it’s close to the festive season, I recommend these:
And just in case none of this has tugged at your heart strings, I leave you with this. Merry Christmas!