How to improve accessible toilet facilities — Scope | Disability forum
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How to improve accessible toilet facilities

Rebeiro1 Community member Posts: 3 Listener


I currently work within the facilities department for a leading children's hospital. I have begun looking into our accessible toilet facilities to understand what we are doing right/wrong and more importantly what we could do to improve!

The last week of researching experiences in these facilities has been a real eye opener! The range of emotions/obstacles/challenges faced or created by either using accessible toilets or even simply preparing to use them has really made me realise the need for improvements.

So far I have found some of the main obstacles to be:

-Waste/sanitary bins beside toilet, blocking transfer space from wheelchair

-Position/Length/Availability of Red Chords

-Stability of support rails

-Space to manoeuvre alone or with carer present

I know these make up only a fraction of the challenges and obstacles faced and so would be really keen to understand more.

I would really appreciate hearing your experiences, good or bad! Whether they are about the above points or anything else at all . I also understand that these topics are extremely sensitive and can be very difficult to recall and discuss, as much as I would love to hear from you I also do not wish to cause any upset!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to hearing from you!

Kindest regards,




  • Cress
    Cress Community member Posts: 1,012 Pioneering
    Oddly, as you'd think it be one of the easiest things to get right, was a disabled toilet in a hospital I'd been visiting was the placement of the toilet roll had to literally remember to get some before you sat down or get up from the toilet seat to fetch some and sit back down again...
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
    Sometimes the access to the toilet if locked and requiring a radar key to access 

    Not everyone has a key and are unable to find anyone to let them in 

    I'm not sure hospital ones use the radar key locks 

    I often find the flush hard to reach 

    The support rails that you have to pull down Sometimes hard to do as you have to lift them up first to release the bar 

    In a children's hospital would be important for space as most will be escorted by parent

    Are they big enough to accommodate mobility scooter and not just wheelchair 
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,011 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2021
    Rebeiro1 said:

    -Waste/sanitary bins beside toilet, blocking transfer space from wheelchair

    A very common failing everywhere. Support/cleaning staff need to be trained to understand the importance of the space beside the pan to enable wheelchair transfer.
    There is often no contrast between wall and floor
    All new toilets should have this contrast and the walls should be a different colour to the support rails as required by Part M of the Building Regulations
    the surface finish of sanitary fittings and grab bars contrasts visually with background wall and floor finishes, and there is also visual contrast between wall and floor finishes.
    But then when a new coat of paint is applied by someone who doesn’t understand the need for this the contrast can be lost because they think it looks nicer.

    The problem is that building to a standard is undermined when the managers/operators don’t understand why things are designed the way they are.

    Rebeiro1, if you are not familiar you may wish to look at
    although this document is not without critics it is statutory guidance.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Jean Eveleigh
    Jean Eveleigh Scope Member Posts: 183 Pioneering
    Issues I have found in no particular order
    • not being able to reach the toilet flush
    • having a toilet that will clean you with no instructions (I ended up soaking wet - it's easy to laugh now but I was mortified at the time)
    • not being able to reach the red pull cord (tied up, the wrong position in the room, been removed completely)
    • not being able to reach the loo roll (I now carry my own)
    • not being able to close/lock the door once I am in the room
    • not being able to maneuver to position properly to transfer so having to transfer and twist 90 degrees from wheelchair to toilet and back again
    • the floor being wet and/or covered in loo roll
  • Rebeiro1
    Rebeiro1 Community member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thank you so much to everybody who has already left feedback! I can't tell you how grateful I am for such swift and inciteful information. Some elements are things I had noted already, but are no less beneficial as they re-affirm the need for improvement!

    I would like to give a special thanks to Cress, Janer1967, mikehughescq, calcotti and Jean Eveleigh for being the first 5 contributors! It really is very much appreciated. 

    I look forward to reading more experiences and further developing my understanding of the various needs and requirements.

    Kindest regards, 



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