Architecture & Access is delighted to hear of the plan to install Changing Places at six key Melbourne venues – the MCG, Melbourne Zoo, Rod Laver Arena and three other locations yet to be chosen by a poll of people who will use them.
The Association for Children with a Disability (ACD) led the grass-roots campaign to promote the rights, health and dignity of people with disability, including the development of the Changing Places Information Kit – a resource promoting the installation of adult changing facilities, launched in February this year.
“This is heartening news for the families with a child, relation or friend with a disability requiring high support,” says Helen Fearn-Wannan, occupational therapist and accredited access consultant at Architecture & Access.
“People with high support needs face a difficult situation every time they go out – with nowhere suitable to meet their toileting needs, they often find themselves lying on the dirty floor of a public toilet as the only option.”
Conventional accessible toilets don’t have an adult change table, the equipment or enough space for two carers to help with heavy lifting.
The alternative for the person is to sit in soiled clothing, an unhealthy and distressing experience that often leads to health problems.
A Changing Place includes the provision of a peninsular toilet, an adult sized change table, a hoist, a clean environment and enough space for a person who use a wheelchair and up to two carers.
In her work as access consultant at Architecture & Access, Helen encourages architects and building owners to include a Changing Place in their projects, particularly developments which include swimming pools, community hubs, universities and train stations or transport interchanges.
“People with disability, their families and carers have the right to participate in the social, economic and cultural life of their communities, and Changing Places can be an important part of realising that right,” says Helen.
“As time goes on, the Changing Places signage – a distinctive sign which includes a wheelchair, hoist, change table and carer – is one that Architecture & Access hopes to see more frequently around our community.”
Helen Fearn-Wannan contributed to the Changing Places Information Kit, drawing on twelve years experience of working with people with disabilities and their support workers at Scope and as an accredited access consultant with Architecture & Access.
Architecture & Access is an Industry Champion of the Changing Places organisation and campaign.
The Changing Places Information Kit can be downloaded at the Changing Places.
For more information about designing Changing Places facilities, please contact Architecture & Access.
Read more about the plan to deliver Changing Places in The Age online.