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Changing Places Toilets - what, why, who and where.

23 June 2017

Did you know that a standard ‘accessible’ / ‘disabled’ toilet does not meet the needs of all people with a disability?

The fact of the matter is, people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well people with other physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis often need extra equipment, and space, to allow them to use the toilets safely and comfortably.

These needs, requirements and extra equipment are provided by Changing Places Toilets, a government initiative, as it has become increasingly apparent over the last two decades that standard disabled toilet facilities are not adequate for all who require them.

What makes them different?

The main difference is the provision of the correct equipment and the adequate amount of space.

Unlike standard accessible / disabled toilets, changing places facilities include a height adjustable, adult sized, changing bench along with a tracking hoist system, or as a minimum, a mobile hoist, if the previous cannot be installed due to ceiling support requirements.

Naturally installed in bigger area, a changing places facility is purposefully built to be more than adequate for a user and up to two carers. In addition to this toilets are placed centrally with room at either side and are compliment with a screen of curtain to allow for some privacy.

In addition to this non-slip flooring is always used, along with the installation of a large waste bin for disposal pads and a wide tear off paper roll holder to cover the adjustable bench for the prevalence of a clean and safe environment for one and all.

Why changing places are important.

Thousands of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well other disabilities that severely limit mobility, cannot use standard accessible / disabled toilets.

Without Changing Places Facilities, these people are put at risk, as their friends, families and carers, are forced to risk their own health and safety by changing their loved one in facilities that are not adequate, or worse, on a toilet floor of a standard disabled toilet, due to available space. This is dangerous, unhygienic, undignified and by no means acceptable hence the importance of a changing places facility.

Who they are for.

Research provided byProfessor James Hogg, at the University of Dundee,has found that over a quarter of a million severely disabled people, including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, do not have access to public toilet facilities that meet their needs.

In the UK the number of people who would benefit from a Changing Places toilet would approximately include:

  • 40,000 people with profound and multiple learning disabilities
  • 130,000 older people
  • 30,000 people with cerebral palsy
  • 13,000 people with an acquired brain injury
  • 8,500 people with Multiple Sclerosis
  • 8,000 people with Spina Bifida
  • 500 people with Motor Neurone Disease

It is also know that the number of people with complex disabilities is growing. The fact of the matter is, as a nation, we are all living longer, meaning many more people are likely to need access to a Changing Places toilet in the future – another indication of there ever prevalent importance.

Finding a changing places facility near you.

There are currently 993 changing places facilities within the UK, with campaigning ongoing for the installation of many more in all big public places including, shopping centers, venues, transport hubs and leisure complexes / arenas.

Its successfulness would enable all disabled people to get out, go to the shops, attend hospital appointments, enjoy community life, socialise and travel with the same dignity as everyone else.

To find a changing places near you visit: http://changingplaces.uktoiletmap.org/

For local West Leeds residents you can always visit the new William Merritt Disabled Living Centre, whereby we here at More Ability, part of the Passmore Group, offered expertise, knowledge and man power fully refurbishing, including the design, supply of installation of:

  • Changing Places Facility
  • Standard Accessible / Disabled Toilet Facility
  • Two Bespoke Assisted Bathing Displays


The William Merritt Disabled Living Centre is a non-profit organisation located at Aire House, Town Street, Rodley, Leeds, LS13 1HP. The centre provides impartial information, advice and assessments on equipment and practical aspects of daily living for disabled people of all ages.

More Ability, part of the Passmore Group, is Yorkshires leading and most experienced bath & shower room specialist for all types of stylish, safe & practical and bespoke solutions. Offering a fully project managed design & installation service we pride ourselves on meeting individual wants, needs and aspirational requirements for both the public & private sector.

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