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Toilet accessories

This section includes accessories designed to assist with toileting. Some have colour contrast that may help a person with memory loss to identify the equipment. They are suitable for adults, children or both.

Cushions for use on a toilet are air-inflated or made of foam, gel or water. They are fitted onto the toilet or commode seat with a range of fastenings. Some cushions are designed to provide pressure relief. Toilet cushions can also reduce the size of the toilet aperture which may be useful for children. Cushions will have either an oval, round, or horseshoe aperture. Horseshoe apertures provide easier access if you are using a urinal and can be more comfortable, particularly for men. It provides easier access for personal hygiene purposes.

Toilet paper dispensers and holders have features designed to enhance ease of use such as one-handed roll change and/or one-handed unroll and tear. Some form part of, or fit onto, a toilet rail to enable a toilet roll to be positioned within easy reach.

Flush controls such as levers which are wider and flat making them easier to push with the palm of your hand or elbow. These may be called spatula lever handles due to their shape. A range of switch or push button operated flush controls are also included. These can be operated by foot, or a range of toilet or wall mounted switches, including remote and infrared sensors that only require movement to work. These may come in a kit form to replace your existing lever handle flush or as a new cistern. Automatic cisterns that flush when they detect movement or at regular timed intervals are also included.

Toilet plinths fit between the floor and the toilet pedestal and raise the overall height of the toilet on a permanent basis. They require fitting by an experienced tradesperson.

Toilet backrests are padded and are mainly mounted onto a rail or fixed to the wall behind the toilet. This means they do not have to be removed for other toilet users. To increase your trunk/body's stability they usually have contoured edges and some have adjustable lower back support which will increase this further. Some have chest or full harness straps and can be used with rails and/or toilet seats.

Commode pans fit within the commode to collect urine in a portable vessel. This can then be taken to a toilet or sluice to be flushed away.

Macerator pumps include macerating units which are useful in situations where the new toilet will be over six metres from the main soil stack, where there is inadequate space or where it is too disruptive to install a toilet with the conventional method of waste withdrawal, or the toilet is to be cited in a position below the drainpipe (for example in a basement). The toilet flush activates the macerator unit automatically. Solid waste is pulped by the macerator to enable it to pass through small bore piping, which is then moved by pumping. Many of these macerator units are also able to discharge waste water from bidets, showers and wash hand basins and are usually concealed behind a wall.

Sanitary fluids are used in conjunction with chemical toielts and commodes to maintain a hygienic environment.

Accessible toilet packages include sanitary fixtures, such as a toilet bowl, conforming to the Part M regulations which concern accessible building requirements.

National key scheme. RADAR National Key Scheme (NKS) keys are used to open locked accessible public toilets around the country. Radar Keys are only available to people who require use of the toilet facilities due to their disability or health condition.

2-in-1 Family Toilet Seat
Polypropylene replacement toilet seat which combines a standard size adult seat with an integral fold down child size seat. Fits most standard toilets...
3 Way Toilet Frame
Height adjustable toilet frame. Comprises: height adjustable tubular frame; non-slip feet. Options: choice of colour.
Action Commode Cushion For Pressure Relief
Commode cushion for pressure relief. Comprises: oval opening; hook and loop attachment.
Adjustpan Toilet Raiser
Toilet raiser. Comprises: height adjustable; horizontal installation or downward tilted installation; intended to be an easy to clean product and surr...
Akton Commode Seat Pad
Gel cushion with standard aperture or horseshoe design for use on a commode. Latex free.
Aqua-Kem Odour Control for Portable Toilets
Fluid for use in chemical toilets, to degrade waste matter and neutralise odours. Sold in cases of six bottles.
Avalon Support Toilet Roll Holder
Grab rail with toilet roll holder. Comprises: Grab rail with horizontal extension for toilet roll to hang on; Made from polyester coated aluminium. Op...
Back Support With Cushion
Toilet backrest. Comprises: powder coated aluminium rail; padded support. Choice of colour available.
Back-to-wall Document M Toilet Pack
Toilet package designed to comply with accessibility guidance. Comprises: concealed cistern with ducted lever; white toilet bowl; white wash basin wit...
Bidet Commode Pan
Plastic round commode pan with broad rim, designed to fit standard WC bowls and commodes. Lids not available.
Blue Foam Raised Toilet Seat
Raised toilet seat designed for bariatric users. Comprises: PU foam seat designed for users who may require softened seating; clip on/clip off fitting...
Close Coupled Document M Toilet Pack
Toilet package designed to comply with accessibility guidance. Comprises: wall hung cistern with lever flush; white toilet bowl; toilet seat with late...
Coloured Standard Toilet Seats
A red contrasting toilet seat designed to aid user recognition. Comprises: one piece moulded plastic seat; adjustable plastic hinges; fits most standa...
Comfort Commode Cushion
Polyurethane foam cushion with aperture and two-way stretch cover.
Commercial Low Level Doc 'm Pack
Comprises: contained in one box; low level version consists of - five grab rails, one hinged support, one backrest rail with cushion; close coupled ve...
Commode Bucket With Lid
Round commode bucket with lid and handle. Made of polypropylene, can be sterilised by steam, boiling or chemicals.
Commode Cushion
Square cushion with oval aperture for commode use. Options: autoclavable cover.
Commode Cushion
Commode ring cushion. Ring is placed on aperture seat of commode or toilet. Comprised of silicone coated polyester fibre enclosed in cotton and polyes...
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Buying equipment

There are several factors to consider when purchasing equipment.

Making complaints and reporting unsafe products

In most instances a complaint should initially be made to the supplier who provided you with the item. CAB has a range of guidelines on their website on making a complaint about poor service or faulty goods. These include complaining by phone, complaining in writing and template letters. CAB advice about making a complaint.
If you are not satisfied with the supplier's response then you may choose to complain to:

  • an ombudsman scheme
  • a regulator
  • an independent mediator
  • a trade association (if the supplier is a member of one)

 

Safety incidents involving medical devices can be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the GOV UK website www.mhra.gov.uk or their Adverse incident centre hotline 020 3080 7080. The MHRA is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medical devices and medicines work and are acceptably safe. Their definition of 'Medical devices' includes devices used for assisting patients and users, thus many daily living aids such as bath lifts, commodes and walking sticks are medical devices. Any incident involving the safety of a medical device (including safety issues with its instructions for use) should be reported to the MHRA, especially if the incident contributed to, or could have caused injury, life-threatening illness or death.

Buying from a private person

Buying from a private person gives you fewer rights. You will only be able to claim against the seller if the product doesn't match its description or if the seller did not own it. Consequently, some firms occasionally pretend to be private sellers to avoid their legal responsibilities towards customers. If you suspect this has happened to you find out about your rights and what action to take on the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ or call 0345 404 0506 to speak to the Citizen Advice consumer helpline.

Guarantee

The length of the manufacturer's guarantee does not limit any claim you may make to the seller as if a product develops a fault outside the guarantee period you can still claim against the seller if you can show that the fault was unreasonable at that period in the products life.

 

You may be asked whether you would like to purchase an extended warranty. Remember that your statutory rights exist, under the Sale of Goods Act, whether or not you choose to buy their warranty and whether or not the goods came with any guarantee. Manufacturers' guarantees are separate from the automatic rights you have against the seller, and may be more limited. For more information read the Citizens Advice Bureau guide to guarantees and warranties.

Maintenance and insurance

For large complex items, such as a stairlift, check what kind of maintenance contract the supplier offers.

Membership of trade associations

Some suppliers are members of a trade association. Many of these trade associations have a code of practice that governs their members' customer service, and thus may help to project you from unscrupulous selling practices. For example, some trade associations prohibit their members from contacting people uninvited to try and sell their products. They may also prohibit their members from using high pressure selling tactics such as offering a discount if you order that day, or phoning their manager while demonstrating the equipment to you to agree a 'special discount/deal'. Thus if you have a choice of suppliers for the product you wish to purchase we recommend you consider the suppliers who are members of trade association.

We record suppliers' membership of several trade associations (see a list of these trade associations) and our ratings give greater weighting to trade associations with codes of practice which are approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) (e.g. the British Healthcare Trade Association) or governed by an audit scheme which meets the requirements of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

We also record whether suppliers meet the ISO 9000 series of standards. These standards define a Quality System which certifies that formalised business processes are being applied, and thus may be another indicator to look for if you have a choice of suppliers.

VAT

You may be able to purchase equipment designed for use by disabled people without paying the VAT if you are 'chronically sick or disabled', and you are buying the item/s for your own personal or domestic use. For VAT purposes, a person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they:

  • Have a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out everyday activities.
  • Have a condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (e.g. diabetes).
  • Are terminally ill.

 

So, you won't qualify if you're only temporarily disabled or incapacitated (e.g. if you have a broken leg).

Examples of products which are likely to qualify for VAT relief (if intended for the personal or domestic use of a chronically sick or disabled person) include:

 

  • wheelchairs
  • stairlifts
  • computer software or hardware designed specifically for disabled individuals
  • kettle tippers, tap turners, button hooks and similar gadgets or devices that are designed solely to make everyday tasks easier for disabled individuals
  • artificial limbs
  • vehicles that have been adapted for use by a wheelchair or stretcher user

Price

Price is important but, if we list more than one supplier, it is important to look for more than just the cheapest price. Check when the prices were last updated (this should be stated under each price). Consider whether:

  • Postage/delivery is included (if shopping by mail order or online)
  • Is the supplier a member of a trade association? (see below)
  • Is one supplier listing the price with VAT and another without VAT?
  • Check the suppliers' returns policies and any guarantees / warranties (see below).
  • For complex equipment that requires maintenance and/or servicing check what's included in the price and what the ongoing costs will be.

Get advice and an assessment

Experienced therapists or trusted assessors know a lot about products and will help you make sure the product is right for you now and will continue to be suitable in the future. 

 

You may be able to get an assessment and advice from social services. GOV.UK website
Alternatively you may choose to pay for a private occupational therapist. If you wish to request a private appointment with an occupational therapist then you can obtain details of local private occupational therapists from the 'College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section - Independent Practice' (COTSS-IP) website. www.cotss-ip.org.uk or phone their enquiry Line: 0845 129 7699.
You can check whether a therapist is state registered with the Health Care professions Council (HCPC) at www.hcpc-uk.org/audiences/

Try before you buy

You can find out about products and try them out, with independent advice at an Independent Living Centre (ILC). There are about 30 ILCs in the UK. Most do not sell products but they will be able to tell you where to buy them. We recommend you make an appointment before you visit

You could view equipment at an exhibition. They are a good opportunity to see what's available and meet the competing suppliers. The main exhibition of equipment is NAIDEX, held annually at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, and Glasgow. www.naidex.co.uk


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