The new Changing Places facility[/caption]A Changing Places toilet for patients and visitors with complex disabilities has opened today at Heartlands Hospital, which is part of University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB).
UHB chief executive, Dame Julie Moore joined staff, patients and visitors along with UHB Chair, the Rt Hon Jacqui Smith to open the Changing Places facility by cutting a ribbon and unveiling a plaque.
Changing Places toilet facilities are different to standard disabled toilets, and are designed to meet the needs of people with conditions such as muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis, as well as those with spinal or brain injuries. Patients and visitors to the hospital can use the specialist facilities, which come equipped with a hoist, adult-sized height adjustable changing table and shower, along with space for both the individual and their carer, safely and in comfort.
National figures show that over ¼ million people need Changing Places toilets to enable them to get out and about and enjoy the day-to-day activities many of us take for granted.
Tracey Surgeoner, aged 52 years old from Sutton Coldfield regularly visits Heartlands Hospital as a patient and attended the opening of the facility. She said: “Without these facilities I am not able to come to the hospital on my own, I would need a carer with me.
“It is amazing to have the Changing Places toilet facility open, as it means I can go to the toilet with dignity, which is so important to me.”
The Changing Places toilet at Heartlands Hospital is located adjacent to Ward 3 and can be accessed by requesting a key from the main hospital reception, as well as from Ward 3 staff.
On opening the new facility, Dame Julie Moore said: “We are really pleased that we’ve been able to open the hospital’s first Changing Places toilet.
“They are vitally important to patients who are unable to use a standard accessible toilet, and provide much more space for individuals and their carers, as well as equipment to help them use the facilities safely, comfortably and with dignity. I am proud to be here today.”
For more information about Changing Places, visit www.changing-places.org