MidKent College in Medway requested we look into the possibility of creating a high dependency changing area for a number of students entering the college in September.

In doing so, the college identified that an existing accessible toilet with a shower cubicle would be suitable for the project – the room was spacious and had large windows that made the room bright and airy.

The students using the room varied considerably in their abilities and in the equipment they required to use the toilet successfully. During an in-depth discussion with the learning assistants (on Teams due to COVID lockdowns) we explored the equipment that would best assist their students and the transfers that we would need.

This allowed us to make a start on designing the layout of the room. Our next step was to conduct an in-depth building survey, during which we discovered that the screed was too thin to set in a shower tray. Our proposal was to install a raised floor inside the room to facilitate drainage from the shower. To accomplish this we installed shallow ramped access into the adjacent lobby with a flat platform outside the doorway.

Work was carried out during the summer holidays over a 3-week period. The floor work included a shower former, non-slip vinyl flooring, and hygienic wall cladding throughout the room. The ceiling hoist system was installed, followed by new ceiling tiles and bright LED ceiling lights.The facility also has a height-adjustable wash basin with a thermostatic tap, and a MERA automatic WC with folding support rails on each side. A thermostatic shower was installed, with a wall mounted privacy screen.

The college opted for a Barella shower trolley that maximizes flexibility within the room, along with a static shower seat.One of the custom touches in this room is the storage cabinet. In the old facility, slings and personal care items were stored in metal filing cabinets. It was clear that this was not suitable for the new room, so we manufactured a new wall-hung cabinet to sit alongside the shower area. The new cupboard is made from Sealwise WCB, a completely waterproof board made from PVCU, so there is no concern about it getting damp from the shower spray. The new cupboard has two lockable compartments and contains the battery charger for the shower trolley as well as slings and other items that need to be accessible.