Kildare County Council has opened a fully accessible ‘Changing Places’ facility for people with complex disabilities. Located on floor 0 in the Council Offices in Devoy Park, Naas, the facility includes many features and additional equipment making it more accessible than the standard accessible toilets we are all familiar with.
Disabled accessible toilets often do not meet the needs of all people with complex disabilities. For example, individuals with conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, and older people with physical disabilities may need extra equipment facilities to enable them to use the toilet, maximising independence, and comfort. Sadly, many people with disabilities are often faced with the indignity and unhygienic option of being changed on the floor of a public toilet as the correct facilities are not available in public places.
The Changing Places facility addresses these issues as it provides 12m² of floor space and includes both a full room coverage ceiling track hoist, a centrally located toilet bowl with space either side for transfers or assistants, and a height-adjustable adult sized changing bench.
Changing Places facilities are designed to enhance the health, safety, comfort, and dignity of someone who may need extra support and additional equipment during personal care tasks. Changing Places facilities also offer added safety and support features for assistants.
Speaking at the opening of the new facility, Michael Hurley, Access Officer, Kildare County Council said; “I am incredibly excited about the opening of this new state of the art public service facility for people with disabilities and additional physical needs. This facility will provide people with disabilities and their families a safe, fit for purpose environment, where their dignity and needs are provisioned for on a new level. I look forward to this becoming the standard in all public buildings. This new facility represents a significant step forward and is a positive contribution to the full inclusion, equality, and rights of disabled people within our community.”
Aisling McNiffe, Changing Places Ireland added; “We are delighted to see that Kildare County Council have installed their first changing places toilet in Naas and that there are more to come.
It will open the world for many people with disabilities. Accessibility and inclusion are vital. To be able to access a bathroom suitable for your individual needs is a basic human right. So many
people have been excluded from society because of the lack of a changing places toilet. Thanks to Michael Hurley and Kildare County Council for their commitment to date. It is so important to see local authorities taking a lead and we hope to see other public bodies following their example.”
The Changing Places facility in the Kildare County Council offices is now open to the public from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and is the first in a series of 3 planned facilities with two more planned for Newbridge Sports Centre and the new library in Naas.