Stoma Friendly Toilets: 4 years later

18 February, 2019

Colostomy UK: toilets

Incredible as it may seem, our campaign to ensure that toilet facilities across the UK are stoma friendly is now in its fourth year. During this time we have focused on two things:

Firstly, ostomates’ requirements in relation to the facilities themselves.

Secondly, raising awareness of ‘hidden’ conditions and disabilities. Sadly, we still receive reports of ostomates being challenged and even having to endure verbal abuse for using accessible toilets.

During the last four years we have made great strides in our efforts and many of the major supermarket chains including Tesco, Morrisons and Marks and Spencers now display new signage around hidden disabilities like the one below.

The restaurant chain Côte Brasserie were one of the first to come on board. The INTU shopping centres at Bromley, Dundee and Cribbs Causeway, Bristol (combined footfall of 35.7 million p. a.) now display our toilet stickers as do Stoke City, West Brom and Leicester City football clubs and the home of cricket, Lords. Most recently Sainsbury’s began a nationwide roll-out, upgrading their customer toilets and displaying new signage.

Our campaign is about much more than signage. There are some very simple, cheap and practical things that can be done in order to make a toilet ‘stoma friendly’.

  • Hook on door – To hang clothing, handbags and luggage while changing stoma bags. This provides more space in the cubicle.
  • Shelf space – To enable ostomates to spread out their items easily and avoid having to use unsanitary surfaces.
  • Disposal bin in every cubicle – To avoid embarrassment for men and women having to dispose of their stoma bag in public view.
  • Mirror – To enable users to see their stoma while changing their appliances.

These simple things would be useful for most of the public in any case, but you would be amazed at the difference it can have for someone with a stoma. Just knowing that there needs have been taken into consideration can encourage someone back out into the world who may have had serious anxiety beforehand.

Naturally there is still lots of work to be done. Indeed, we see the campaign as one which will occupy us at Colostomy UK for the foreseeable future. Although we have had success with large organisations, we have yet to make much impact at a local level. We need more ostomates to go out into their community and help spread the word!

Get in touch today and we can send you some tips on making your community more stoma friendly as well as stickers/information packs.


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