We all know that providing suitable hygiene facilities for pupils and visitors is a must. Aside from the fact that it’s required by law, many of us have already witnessed the huge benefits that providing proper equipment can bring.
All students should have the chance to enjoy their education, yet worries about toileting and hygiene can significantly impact upon this enjoyment. Common anxieties include toilets being sparsely located or difficult to use (for example, if the space isn’t large enough for a wheelchair turning circle). Assisted hygiene procedures that are uncomfortable or overly prolonged can also cause concern. In drastic situations, unsuitable toileting and changing facilities can cast a shadow over a pupil’s experience of their school days.
Of course, dignity is a huge part of this and all young people deserve the chance to be as independent as possible. If assisted changing and toileting is necessary, it should be handled with maximum privacy and minimal intrusion. Your choice of equipment will be central to this.
For example, the Stabila Ergo Shower Trolley has a 4-point profiling action which provides an upright seated position. This may be more comfortable for the pupil being showered, as it’s easier to keep water away from their face, and they can be more aware of what’s happening.
To ensure you’re providing equipment that can facilitate this, ask yourself – can the equipment be safely used by just one person? If so, this will help you stretch your resource and improve dignity for your pupils. Could the equipment empower pupils to get involved in their own assisted toileting or changing? This may help engender feelings of accomplishment and independence. Does the equipment allow pupils the most amount of physical freedom? For example, the Robin Overhead Hoist is the only hoist available without a spreader bar, which feels far less intrusive for the user.
And it’s not just the pupils that your choice of hygiene equipment will affect – it’s their parents and carers, too. Enrolling a child in school requires a huge amount of trust from any parent or guardian. If a school is to win that trust, not only must your facilities be up to the job, they must also be modern and in an aesthetically pleasing space.
When considering the design of your hygiene facilities, why not take into account how the rest of the school feels? If a student is anxious about toileting and hygiene, a space that feels different from the rest of the building is likely to compound those anxieties. Hygiene rooms don’t have to feel clinical and cold. When talking to suppliers and architects, feel free to specify how you would like the space to feel, as well as function.
Having said all of this, safety will of course be your primary concern. It goes without saying that all equipment must pass strict safety checks, but when considering your school’s equipment need, it’s wise to put a little more thought into it. Your staff must be properly trained on whatever equipment you choose, so to a certain extent, it makes sense to choose equipment that is easiest to operate.
And finally, the safety of your staff is equally important as the safety of your pupils. Manual moving and handling cannot be totally avoided, but you can reduce the risk to your team by encouraging best practice and providing ergonomic equipment. Your new kit should be height adjustable and enable your team members to maintain good posture.
Hygiene Equipment recommended by Felgains
Stabila Ergo Shower Trolley
The Stabila Ergo Shower Trolley is a mobile solution that allows easy transfers from a bed to shower room. The 4-profiling action enables carers to easily arrange individuals into the positions they find most comfortable for showering, including upright seated. The padded mattress and headrest also provide additional comfort.
Get more information at: felgains.com/stabila-ergo
Robin Overhead Ceiling Track Hoist
The Robin is a brilliantly designed overhead hoist that features two parallel lifting straps instead of traditional metal spreader bar for more comfortable and dignified patient transfers.
Get more information at: felgains.com/robin
What the law says about hygiene facilities in schools
Building Bulletin 103 states that accessible toilets for pupils and students, staff or visitors with disabilities must be included in mainstream schooling. Toilet provision should also include a specialist hygiene room with a fixed or mobile hoist and space for assistants to change a pupil or student. In a primary school this should contain a changing bed and accessible WC unless this is included in an adjacent accessible toilet (9m2). In a secondary school this should contain an accessible shower, sluice toilet and changing trolley (12m2).
Building Bulletin 104 defines the ratio of toilets and hygiene facilities that must be provided per student, in mainstream and special schools. It also lists the equipment needed for a properly kitted hygiene room.
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