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Giving vulnerable adults confidence – right through to personal care

A UNICEF accredited school is helping pupils with diverse abilities to be as Tor Bank Schoolindependent and confident as possible, by heading to the toilets.

Tor Bank School in Dundonald caters for 192 children aged between 3 and 19 with severe learning difficulties and/or physical impairments, and has UNICEF Rights Respecting School status. As part of new facilities provided under the Public Private Partnership funding, the school has had three Closomat Palma Vita wash & dry toilets installed throughout the single-storey building.

The toilets compliment the school’s eight hygiene rooms, which have a conventional WC with a shower, changing bench and hoist. Closomats look like – and can be used as – conventional WCs. They also have integrated washing and drying so the user is properly and consistently cleaned without they – or a carer – having to wipe clean with toilet tissue. The three Palma Vita toilets at Tor Bank have the manufacturer’s unique touch sensitive operating switch as an alternative operating device, and integrated fold-away arms for additional user support, whilst one has a junior soft seat. Conventionally, the toilet is operated by hand or body pressure on the flush pads on either side of the cistern; the optional soft-touch switch can be triggered by light hand, elbow or foot pressure.

Palma Vita“What toilet facilities each child uses depends on their individual ability,” explains principal Colm Davis. “Our philosophy is about safeguarding our pupils whilst giving them the opportunity to be independent and confident. The Closomats help achieve that, and gives them a sense of privacy and ensures they are clean if they get in a mess. Because the toilets clean the user, they help with their health too: we get fewer rashes from ineffective wiping. It also means teaching staff can spend more time on pupils’ classroom education as they won’t need to accompany them on toilet trips. To me, it is a best value solution.”

Closomat, which manufactures its toilets in the UK, has over 50 years’ experience in delivering personal hygiene solutions. The company has developed a range of equipment and support services that today meets every need, including height adjustable basins, and changing tables.

Uniquely, the products are backed up by in-house support, from assessment of requirements, design of an accessible bathroom or washroom to legislative and budgetary requirements, installation and commissioning of equipment, and lifetime maintenance. Full details of equipment are available on the company’s website, here.


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Adapting to realise vision of optimum independence

A vision of creating a better world for children with severe and complex needs is being realised – right through to their personal hygiene.

Treloar College

The Treloar Trust has completed Vision Treloar’s, a £20m project to create one, nationally recognised, educational and residential centre of expertise for young people, on a single campus.

The vision has extended through all aspects of the students’ lives – including appropriate equipping of the independent living skills flats purpose-designed to enable them to be independent. Thus, 11 Closomat Palma Vita wash & dry toilets have been fitted in some of the flats.

Looking like, and capable of being used as, a conventional WC, the Palma Vita has in-built facilities which automatically wash and dry the user after toileting. Therefore the user does not have to manually clean – or be cleaned by a carer, and achieves a consistent, high level of cleanliness/personal hygiene when going to the toilet. Unlike similar toilets, the Closomat can be personalised – at initial installation and later – to individual needs: over 150,000 permutations of operating mechanisms, support systems, seats, douches, height adjustability exist.

Treloar’s Facilities Manager Chloe Stoneham explained, “Treloar’s offers much more than a formal education; it adopts a holistic approach to ensure the needs of the whole child can be met on site, and assists them in a longer term programme to take control of their lives and maximising their independence. It enables them to do more for themselves. “The training programmes undertaken by students in these flats prepare them for the transition to adulthood, and for many, towards their goal of living in their own homes, independently. The Closomat toilets help ensure our students have the ability to maximise their independence with personal hygiene, promoting increased dignity and privacy – important to all, but especially valued by the young people approaching adulthood.”

Treloar’s Head Occupational Therapist Victoria Pitt added, “We have found the Closomats easier to use, and more
compatible with a wider range of shower chairs. We have almost 160 students here, all with individual requirements, so we need equipment to be as adaptable as possible. The Closomats are user-friendly, not too complicated and can be adjusted to suit individual needs – for example controls can be adapted to the person using them. In our experience, Closomats are often the equipment used by students at home”.

The Closomats fitted at Treloar’s mean that now over 50,000 are in place across the UK, in individual’s homes, specialist and mainstream schools, care establishments and public venues. Many are in daily use 30+ years after first being installed.

Total Hygiene, which manufactures Closomats, in the UK, has over 50 years’ experience in delivering personal hygiene solutions. The company has developed a range of equipment and support services that today meets every need, including height adjustable basins, changing tables and the brand-leading, top-selling ‘wash and dry’ toilet, the Closomat Palma Vita.

Uniquely, the products are backed up by in-house support, from assessment of requirements, design of an accessible bathroom or washroom to legislative and budgetary requirements, installation and commissioning of equipment, and lifetime maintenance. Full details of equipment are available here.

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21st Century learning environment fit for all….

A half-century old school is being taken into the 21st century in every aspect- including its toilet facilities for pupils.

Highland Council is spending £31m upgrading Lochaber High School to create a ‘truly inspirational’ learning environment; one element of the refurbishment is the creation of a new hygiene room, and revamping of an existing one, to accommodate the more intimate toileting needs of pupils with severe and complex additional support needs.

Centrally located on the ground floor, the equipment in the rooms has been supplied by Closomat, and includes the company’s Palma Vita automatic shower/wash and dry toilet, with drop-down arms to the unit, to ensure pupils of any age can use the WC and be properly supported in the process.

The toilet facilities are only part of the school’s provision for pupils with support needs. It has further included a lift between floors, pupil support base and adaptive kitchen.

“The school facility already had a Closomat, and had enjoyed the benefits of the unit,” explained project senior architectural technician Iain Robertson. “When the refurbishment was discussed, this was one item they wished to retain, and we decided to provide another in the new spaces to give a male and female facility without having changeover of units and adaptation kits.”

Added Jim Sutherland, Lochaber High School headteacher, “This stage of the work will really transform the way our school building works and will provide a learning environment that will be truly inspirational.”

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21st Century physics equip to answer basic needs

On-going upgrading of facilities at Cambridge University’s Department of Physics to equip the faculty for the 21st century have headed to the toilets.


The Department, which has educated Nobel prize winners, has turned to state-of-the-art lavatory technology under the upgrade. In the Rutherford Building, it has installed its first wheelchair-accessible toilet, complete with a Closomat Palma Vita automatic shower/wash and dry toilet in place of a standard WC.

Looking like, and capable of being used as, a conventional toilet, the Palma Vita has integrated facilities which wash and dry the user instead of them wiping with paper. Its delivery of a consistent, efficient process gives greater cleanliness for all users, regardless of impairment. The Department has further chosen to add an extended douche, and touch sensitive switch for simplified operation by people with limited manual or body strength.

“We have a new student who needs specialist toilet facilities,” explained Laboratory Superintendent Peter Norman. “We needed to provide up-to-date accessible toilet facilities at the Faculty and had already installed a Closomat in the student’s accommodation, so this met both requirements.”

The Equality Act requires service providers to make reasonable changes- including to the built environment-where a disabled person would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage. Under the 2013 Building Regulations Approved Document M, toilet accommodation needs to be suitable not only for disabled people, but for all people who use the building.

Closomat is Britain’s leading supplier of fully compliant disabled toilet solutions for in and out of the home. Its Palma Vita is the only automatic wash and dry toilet developed specifically for disabled people, and has a raft of options that enable tailoring to individual needs, initially and as those needs change over time.

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Forward-thinking – through to inclusivity

Churchill CollegeOne of University of Cambridge Colleges, which claims to be one of the most forward-thinking academic institutions in the world- is proving its point as far as student inclusivity is concerned...

Churchill College has further adapted one of its student houses to accommodate the specific requirements of a new Ph.D student. But the adaptation has been executed in such a way to maximise its suitability for other, future students. Central to the adaptation is installation of a Closomat Palma Vita automatic shower (wash and dry toilet) and washbasin that can be adjusted both in height and its position left and right along the wall.

Looking like, and capable of being used as, a conventional WC, the Closomat Palma Vita has in-built washing and drying. After toileting, hand or body pressure on the flush pad, or touch-sensitive switch triggers simultaneous flushing and douching, followed by warm air drying. The douche process ensures the user is effectively cleaned, to a consistent high standard, with no need for manual cleansing, hand:body contact with toilet tissue by either the user or a carer; the warm air ensures the user is properly dry afterwards.

The washbasin is manually height adjustable, set on occupation to the student's preferred height. It is mounted on a horizontal rail that allows its movement left and right as needed. Thus, should future students rely on a carer, the basin can be moved to facilitate access and manoeuvrability as required.

"With one of the largest college sites in Cambridge, a diverse student population, and a track record of excellence – our alumni include 29 Nobel prize winners- Churchill College is one of the most forward-thinking academic institutions in the world," explained Shelley Surtees, Domestic and Conference bursar, Churchill College.

"Experience tells that that people with disabilities, much like those without, have varying needs, and we treat people as individuals. Space is limited in the bathroom. The Closomat is something the student is currently using, enabling her to go to the lavatory and be properly clean afterwards with no help; the optimum adjustability of the sink will be useful for this student, and those in the future, who may need the basin in a different position."

Since Closomats were first introduced in the 1960s, over 40,000 have been sold, and can now be found in domestic and commercial environments across the country – there is even one on a narrowboat, and several on the Jubilee Trust's tall ships!


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