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20 February 2017

Craig and Jenny

Craig is 19 years old, from Angus, Scotland. He loves visits to the cinema, ten pin bowling and animal parks. Like any teenager, he loves to go shopping for clothes, DVDs and music.

Craig and Jenny

Craig is an outdoor person, and loves going out and about for the day.

Craig has profound and multiple learning disabilities, needing total care and support for all his day-to-day needs. Craig needs to use a Changing Places toilet when he is away from home. But the lack of Changing Places toilets in public places means that Craig’s life is restricted.

Craig and his family have tried to find their own solution – but this is far from ideal as his mum Jenny explains.

"We take Craig out in his minibus which has darkened windows so he can be changed inside. Craig is now a fully-grown man, taller than me, and it is extremely difficult to change him in this way. I have to manually lift Craig out of his wheelchair and then kneel with him in my arms as I manoeuvre him through the door onto the floor of the van – it is absolutely back breaking!"

“If Changing Places toilets were provided in public places it would make a huge difference to both Craig’s life and my life. How I would love to take Craig to the theatre, shows, and exhibitions! Visits that I can only rarely make with Craig now.”

Full Story

Craig has profound and multiple learning disabilities. He requires total care due to quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He has epilepsy, severe scoliosis, dystonia, and digestive problems that require him to be fed by gastrostomy.

Craig requires total care and support for all his day-to-day needs, and requires support to enable him to participate in any meaningful activity. Craig uses a special moulded wheelchair – that is larger than many regular wheelchairs – to get around. He is doubly incontinent and therefore needs pads to meet his continence needs.

Craig enjoys a very good quality of life. He attends the Forest View day centre in Stonehaven from Tuesday to Friday, and goes to Angus College every Monday. He enjoys a variety of activities including using the spa pool, sensory cooking, drama and computing.

He loves visits to the cinema, ten pin bowling and animal parks. Like any teenager, he loves to go shopping for clothes, DVDs and music. Craig is an outdoor person, and loves going out and about for the day in his adapted minibus.

Craig needs to use a Changing Places toilet when he is away from home. He requires a height adjustable changing bench so his carer can change his pad, and a hoist so he can be helped to transfer safely from his wheelchair to the changing bench.

But the lack of Changing Places toilets in public places means that Craig’s life is restricted.

When he is taken out from his day centre he cannot be changed as paid carers are not allowed to lift people without the use of a hoist. As a consequence, his activities have to fit around when his continence pad needs changing, restricting his choice of activities.

When Craig and his family go out and about, they are forced to attempt to change Craig in facilities which do not meet their needs. This is dangerous, undignified and can be distressing.

"On a recent trip to visit relatives, my husband and I tried to change Craig in a service station’s disabled toilet. The cubicle was so small we had to leave the wheelchair outside while we manoeuvred Craig out from his chair and onto the floor. There was no room for us to kneel down with Craig, so we had to bend over him to change him, which was extremely strenuous.

"The worse was to follow, as we found there was no room for both of us to safely get hold of Craig to lift him back into his wheelchair. So I had to lift him up from the ground myself and manoeuvre him into his chair outside the cubicle. I was nearly in tears, as I was so anxious not to drop him, or fall with him, in such an awkward position. We have never used a similar facility again."

Due to the lack of suitable Changing Places toilets, Craig and his family have tried to find their own solution – but this is far from ideal.

"At weekends or during the holidays, we take Craig out in his minibus which has darkened windows so he can be changed inside. Craig is now a fully-grown man, taller than me, and it is extremely difficult to change him in this way. I have to manually lift Craig out of his wheelchair and then kneel with him in my arms as I manoeuvre him through the door onto the floor of the van – it is absolutely back breaking!"

The provision of Changing Places toilets in public places would open up a whole new world of possibility to Craig and his family, as well as having a major positive impact on their health.

"If Changing Places toilets were provided in public places it would make a huge difference to both Craig’s life and my life. Craig’s basic human rights and dignity would not be compromised – that in itself would make a difference to my life! My health would certainly improve, with a reduction in the amount of manual lifting I have to do.

"Craig’s choices and opportunities within the community would open up – how I would love to take Craig to the theatre, shows, and exhibitions! Visits that I can only rarely make with Craig now.

"Craig could also take part in activities with support from his carers, which only I will take part in at the moment due to the health risks associated with changing Craig. He could enjoy trips or activities with other friends he has made through his day centre or college. How normal is that for any 19 year-old young man!"


Copyright 2017 Changing Places