In more recent years, there have been changes that have been put into place as regards to disabled toilets. One of these changes is the radar scheme…
On a number of toilets, the door bares a radar key lock. This means that the door cannot be unlocked without a radar key, which only disabled people have access too. The key is also kept at the customer service desk to be given at the request of a disabled person.
This enables those who have a disability to have first priority. It also stops the abuse of the facility as those who really need it will respect it as they know they are not the only disabled person that needs to use it.
These people with radar keys respect the environment as they know from personal experience how important the facility is. The people cleaning the facility also maintain the clean and relatively safe conditions, ready for the next disabled person to use it.
Though it tackles the issue of only disabled people being able to access the toilets and priorities are established, thanks to the radar scheme, I do not think the toilets are much bigger than the standard sized toilets.
I think though the cleanliness is maintained and the foul smell from the bins is much less. It is still a squash for anyone who uses the facilities as there is a lack of space within the facility. This is really classed as a safety and an issue for those who can transfer independently and are unsteady on their feet and can overbalance and hurt themselves badly.
Wheelchair users also struggle using the facility as space is restricted further by their wheelchair as well as the other items in the facility. I know from personal experience that due to my wheelchair and the bins, my parents and I have found it difficult to fit and move within the facility.
There have times when my parents have bumped into each other while they are turning in the very small space to be able to put me on the toilet. They have also accidentally bumped my arm or leg while they are getting on the toilet. The two of them also struggle to keep balance in the tight space while they are lifting me and this is a health and safety issue. If even one loses their balance and falls, we all go down.
This actually leads me nicely onto my next point. The word ‘disability’ is really hard to be categorised and defined. There are so many disabilities and each disability effects, someone, differently. Even two people with the same disability can have different consequences on their lives. However some tries, it truly can’t be defined.
Despite not being able to define ‘disability’, it is about the awareness of the word and how it affects people. Often those with disabilities need hoisting out of their wheelchairs when needing the bathroom and to be put into bed or just to complete day to day to activities.
This prevents families journeying out in public and enjoying the day because of the lack of facilities available for them to use. Instead, they remain at home to avoid the hassle.
I am appreciative that adoptions are starting to be put into place, like the radar scheme, but it is still not enough. It is really about subtle and basic changes being put into place, and disability awareness to increase, particularly in the bathroom to enable everyone, despite their ability to have the same opportunities.