LIFESTYLE

Woman Forced To Change Colostomy Bag On Floor Of Disabled Toilet Writes Emotional Facebook Post

30/12/2015 10:25 GMT | Updated 30/12/2015 10:59 GMT

A woman who had to change her colostomy bag on the floor of disabled toilet has called for public facilities to be better equipped.

Caroline Richards, a 36-year-old mum, penned an emotional Facebook post after having no option but to change her bag on the floor of the toilet at a theatre in Cardiff earlier this month.

Richards, who was fitted with a colostomy bag in 2014 after having bowel cancer surgery, explained that this is far from a rare occurrence.

"Not the nicest thing I know, but you get used to it. I'm not complaining, it's just one of those things, there is far worse in life and the world to deal with. The reason why I had to do this on the floor was due to the fact there was nowhere for me to put all my various bits and bobs I needed," the post read.

"Many places now do not even have toilet seat lids, as was the case here, as I can use them as a bit of a desk. Some disabled toilets also have baby changing facilities and I am able to also use those as a desk."

I am starting a little one woman campaign, so if you agree and would like to share please do. The picture below is how I...

Posted by Caroline Richards on Sunday, 6 December 2015

The incident took place at the Millennium Centre in Wales, but Richards assures her post was not an attempt to shame a particular venue. Instead, it is to call for better facilities in all public toilets.

"All I am asking for is if any new public buildings are being built or ones being refurbished, that they think about putting a little fold down shelf in the disabled toilet at a reasonable height for someone to be able to do this standing up," she wrote, adding: "It would make the life of people who have a stoma a little bit easier when having to change a very full bag."

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In the comments, Richards added: "I just want people who plan these public buildings to understand what is actually needed in a disabled toilet for people with stomas. I have been in touch with changing places which is a group that is campaigning for more accessible toilets for adult and children changing facilities. Hopefully I can help in some way."

The Millennium Centre have since informed Richards that they have a fully accessible toilet on the ground floor and that they will be putting signage up in all toilets to make people aware.

The post has been shared almost 13,000 times, with many commending her for speaking out.

One user said: "My dad has a bag and I've never thought of the difficulty he must have with having to use public toilets. They should have something in all disabled toilets for men and women."

A spokesperson for the Colostomy Association said, according to The Mirror: “We have been amazed by the response to Caroline’s Facebook post – with more than 12,000 shares this clearly is an issue that many people in the UK feel strongly about.

“One in 500 people in the UK live with a stoma and yet most toilet facilities across the country do not meet the needs and requirements of someone with an colostomy bag. Many ostomates are unable to go out and enjoy a full and active life due to uncertainty about whether they will be able access the proper facilities.

“The Colostomy Association is campaigning to improve toilet facilities for people with a stoma across the country.”