Changing Places Toilets - what you need to know

Changing Places Toilets - what you need to know

What are Changing Places Toilets?

Changing Places toilets are similar to Standard Doc-M Toilets with a few additions: Changing Places are generally larger accessible toilets for severely disabled people, with additional equipment such as hoists, privacy screens, adult-sized changing benches, Peninsula Toilets and space for carers.

The government wants to see a step change in the number of Changing Places toilets across the country. This is why in Budget 2021, the Chancellor announced a fund of up to £30.5 million Changing Places Fund to accelerate the provision in existing buildings in England.

The amended Building Regulations 2010 states “Changing Toilets, facilities designed for individuals with complex and multiple impairments who may require the assistance of up to two assistants”

Over 250,000 severely disabled people do not have access to public toilet facilities that meet their needs. Changing Places toilets (CPTs), unlike standard accessible toilets, have an adult changing bench and hoist facilities and extra space for carers.  There are around 1,300 registered CPTs in England but demand for provision is outstripping supply and the number of CPTs needs to increase to improve access for severely disabled people and their carers.

This programme is being delivered in partnership with the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK, co-chairs of the Changing Places Consortium, who will be supporting local authorities in their delivery.

 

Empowering Inclusivity: The Significance of Changing Places for People with Disabilities

In the pursuit of creating a more inclusive and accessible society, the concept of Changing Places has emerged as a beacon of progress for individuals with disabilities. These specialised facilities go beyond the standard accessible restrooms, offering a fully-equipped space that caters to the unique needs of people with multiple and severe disabilities, providing a dignified and comfortable environment for personal care.

Changing Places is a revolutionary advancement in accessibility, addressing the limitations of traditional accessible restrooms. Standard accessible facilities often fall short in meeting the needs of individuals with profound disabilities or those who require assistance from caregivers. Changing Places bridges this gap by providing additional features such as height-adjustable adult-sized changing benches, hoists, and ample space for both the individual and their caregiver.

The impact of Changing Places extends far beyond the convenience of personal care. Access to these facilities enhances the social participation of individuals with disabilities by eliminating barriers to community engagement. Families and friends can confidently plan outings, knowing that there are appropriate facilities available, fostering a sense of normalcy and inclusion.

Public spaces, entertainment venues, and transportation hubs are increasingly recognising the importance of integrating Changing Places into their designs. This shift represents a commitment to breaking down the physical barriers that have historically marginalised individuals with disabilities. In doing so, society acknowledges the inherent value of every individual and their right to participate fully in public life.

The Changing Places movement is not only about physical infrastructure; it is a testament to the evolving mindset towards inclusivity. It challenges the status quo and prompts a revaluation of the way we design and construct public spaces. As more establishments embrace the concept, a ripple effect is created, inspiring others to follow suit and contribute to the creation of a more accessible world.

 

Changing Places Toilets - Further Reading

Independent Living - What makes a Changing Places Facility

Find your nearest Change Places Toilets (interactive Map)

Changing Places Funding

Changing places - thousands of lives improved (gov.uk)

Amendments to Building Regulations - Changing Places

 

Changing Places Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to provide a Changing Place Toilet?

A: New buildings – yes, the amended Building Regulations 2010 states “Changing Toilets, facilities designed for individuals with complex and multiple impairments who may require the assistance of up to two assistants”. Existing buildings do not require a retro-fitted Changing Place although it is desirable.

Q: What is the difference between a Changing Place and a standard Doc-M Disabled toilet?

A: On top of standard Doc-M requirements, Changing Places Rooms must also include a peninsular toilet with a backrest and space on either side, an adult-sized, height-adjustable changing bench or trolley, and a ceiling track hoist system.

Q: What is a Peninsular Toilet

A: In a Changing Places facility, the toilet should have space on both sides of the toilet, allowing wheelchair transfers or assistance from carers - the toilet therefore needs to be sticking out like a "peninsular". It should also be at least a metre away from the walls on either side. 

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