Total Approach to Helping Disabled Children
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health
The Changing Places toilet at Kent CC's MASH Suite
A unique concept in delivering support for disabled children is addressing ALL their needs in one place- right down to going to the toilet.
Kent County Council has opened three Multi-Agency Specialist Hubs (MASH), one each in Swale, Thanet and Ashford, offering NHS, social, voluntary and educational services all under one roof.
The Suites are the first in the country to deliver such a comprehensive range of resources in one place, with the commitment to the users’ needs extending through to toilet facilities.
As a result, each MASH has had two hygiene rooms installed. The rooms are based on the Changing Places* accessible toilet concept, which are different to standard disabled toilets with extra features and more space for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and other people with severe disabilities who need the support of at least one carer. The rooms also include Total Hygiene’s Clos-o-Mat Palma ‘wash and dry’ toilet with optional touch sensitive operating switch.
Kent County Council’s project manager Tim Watts explained, “The aim is for disabled children, their parents and carers to only have to go to one place to access support, be it medical, dental, therapy, education. It was also important, we believe, that the MASH combined necessity with pleasure, hence our inclusion of sensory play and short break activities. Conscious that because there was so much in one place, visitors may be there for a while, it was essential we provided appropriate toilet facilities too. We felt the hygiene room with a Clos-o-Mat met as many people’s needs as possible.”
Looking like, and capable of being used as, a conventional WC, the Clos-o-Mat features integral douching and drying, removing the need for the user or their carer to wipe clean with toilet tissue thus improving hygiene, dignity and independence. After toileting, if the user remains seated and presses either the flush pad or touch-sensitive switch, the unit simultaneously flushes, and warm water douches the user followed by warm air drying.
The Clos-o-Mat Palma is the first toilet of its kind developed specifically for disabled people; since Total Hygiene first introduced the Clos-o-Mat, over 40,000 have been installed in domestic and commercial environments, some of which are still in regular use 30 years after first being fitted.