Embracing Inclusivity: The Critical Need for Stoma-Friendly Public Toilets

A clean and well-equipped accessible toilet

When you live with a stoma or a catheter, venturing out into public spaces can sometimes be a daunting task. 

The availability of stoma-friendly facilities can make a world of difference, offering convenience, dignity and a sense of normality. 

The other issue that ostomates face is that the lack of visible disabilities can lead to judgment and misunderstanding when accessing facilities designed for those with disabilities. 

We aim to shed light on what makes a public toilet stoma-friendly and the significant impact it can have on the lives of people with stomas and catheters.

Key features of a stoma-friendly toilet

Stoma-friendly toilets cater to the unique needs of ostomates, which would ideally include all of the following:

  • Additional space in the cubicle to allow easy movement.
  • A clean and hygienic environment to manage stoma care.
  • A shelf in the cubicle to place your bag and stoma change items.
  • Access to a sink with soap, hot water, and disposal facilities within each toilet cubicle.
  • Handrails and a toilet at an appropriate height can help those with additional mobility issues use the facilities.

It’s not difficult for business owners to incorporate these small changes into their premises and they can make a huge difference for ostomates to easily and privately manage stoma care while away from home.

Increasing the availability of stoma-friendly toilets can significantly improve the ability to feel part of daily life and social activities without worrying and offer the assurance that you can manage your stoma or catheter safely and privately without compromising hygiene or dignity. 

This is important for maintaining a positive quality of life and alleviates the anxiety of being away from home.

Addressing Hidden Disabilities

The challenge of invisible illnesses is a significant one. People with a stoma or catheter may appear healthy to onlookers, leading to misunderstandings and judgment when using disabled facilities. We need to recognise that not all disabilities are visible and that access to suitable facilities is a necessity for many.

Public awareness campaigns and the promotion of “Hidden Disability” signs can play a role in changing perceptions and ensuring those in need feel supported and understood.

The push for more stoma-friendly toilets in public spaces across the UK is about meeting physical needs and promoting a more inclusive and understanding society. 

By acknowledging the challenges faced by ostomates and taking steps to address them, we can make a significant difference in the lives of those living with hidden disabilities. It’s about ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to live their lives fully and without compromise. As we continue to advocate for these changes, we support those with stomas and catheters and move towards a more compassionate and accommodating community.

If you use a bladder or bowel appliance and would like to join our panel of experts and have your voice heard please click here to apply.


"*" indicates required fields