Specialist Changing Places facilities have now been introduced by The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust to help maintain the privacy, dignity and independence of people with complex learning and physical disabilities.
The Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity funded the £22,000 Changing Places toilet facilities, located in reception at Rotherham Hospital. The specially adapted changing area and toilet is Rotherham’s second Changing Places
facility and one of only 22 in South Yorkshire.
Jennifer Turedi, Lead Nurse for Learning Disabilities at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Coming to hospital, whether as a patient or to visit a loved one, can be a worrying time for many people. But for those with a disability or a long term health condition, having to think about what changing facilities are available adds to any stress they may already be feeling.
“Our new Changing Places facility shows we are committed to caring for people with disabilities or long term conditions of all kinds and I’m sure it will make a huge difference to our patients’ experience of visiting Rotherham Hospital.”
Rotherham Hospital’s new amenities will help people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well those who have suffered a stroke, spinal or head injuries or who have long term conditions such as muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis. They are also available for older people and their carers, who may need more space.
The area includes a centrally placed toilet and enough room for a disabled person and two carers, a curtain for privacy, a height adjustable changing bench and wash basin, a hoist as well as large waste bins and paper roll.
Chantil and Andy Calvert, from Thorpe Hesley in Rotherham, brought along their eight-year-old son Oscar to test out the new amenities. Oscar has cerebral palsy and relies on accessible facilities like those now available at the hospital.
Chantil said: “The Changing Places facility is brilliant for our family because we know there’s somewhere close by to change Oscar, especially if we have a hospital appointment. We usually have to rely on children’s changing facilities, where the changing mat attached to the wall isn’t strong enough and instead of risking it breaking, we have to change Oscar on the floor. That isn’t appropriate or dignified. Oscar loves the new facilities because he can alter the hoist and the height of the wash basin himself, which helps boost his confidence and independence.”
Standard accessible toilets meet the needs of some disabled people, but not all. According to the Changing Places Consortium, more than 230,000 children and adults in the UK need additional help to use the toilet or to change.
The consortium is a group of organisations, such as Mencap, who are working together to support the rights of people who need Changing Places toilets. The consortium is campaigning for Changing Places toilets to be installed in all large public areas, such as city centres, arts venues, hospitals, motorway service stations and airports.
Gabby Atmarow, Chairman of the Charitable Funds Committee, added: “I’d like to thank everyone who helped to raise money for the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity because our Changing Places facility will really improve the experience our patients, their families and carers have when visiting hospital. It will also help lead the way for other organisations in Rotherham to introduce their own accessible changing facilities too.”
The Rotherham Lions Club
helped fund the new Changing Places facilities toilet by donating £2,000 in 2016.
Secretary Peter Machin said: “All our members work together to raise money for good causes and for people less fortunate than ourselves so it’s always a really proud moment for us when we can see what a difference our fundraising has made. The Changing Places facility will be amazing for people with disabilities.”
You can find your nearest Changing Places toilet online here http://changingplaces.uktoiletmap.org/find
For more information about the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity please contact Suzanne Rutter on 01709 426821 or via Charity@rothgen.nhs.uk