Needing the toilet when you are out and about

Andy Fletcher
Andy Fletcher
At some point after the birth of your stoma, you will want to venture outdoors – it’s totally natural and expected that you will be anxious about being too far away from a toilet. A public convenience can often have small cubicles, making...

At some point after the birth of your stoma, you will want to venture outdoors – it’s totally natural and expected that you will be anxious about being too far away from a toilet. A public convenience can often have small cubicles, making changing, emptying or cleaning up difficult.  Here are a couple of options for anyone in the UK that might help you feel more confident when you are out and about.

A RADAR toilet – standing for Royal Association for Disability Rights, they are often called NKS keys (National Key Scheme), and have been around for almost 40 years – they were first introduced in 1981. Most local authorities in the UK have adopted into the scheme, as well as some country parks, railway and bus stations, shopping centres and so on. All in all, there are over 9000 of these toilets.

A RADAR toilet can only be accessed with a key – the same key opens all doors. The reasoning behind this is that having them locked will help keep them vandal proof, and in theory, cleaner than a normal public toilet. They are larger spaced self-contained cubicles with running water.

You can find your nearest RADAR toilet from the link below,

https://nks.directenquiries.com/nks/page.aspx?pageid=10&tab=National%20Key%20Scheme&level=2

How do you obtain a RADAR key?

These keys are easily obtainable from many sources. A Google search will show plenty, but if you have a stoma supply delivery company, I would start by calling them first – they may well be able to supply you with one for free by virtue of you being a customer.

The price of buying them online varies, but expect to buy for around £5.  Some local authorities give them away for free. In my small village (which has an elderly population), the local doctors had a supply to give away.

Don’t buy from auction sites however... the keys are often not genuine, so you have no guarantee they will work.

Just Can’t Wait Card

Another option open to you is to carry a “just can’t wait” card.  This is a credit card sized document which states that you have a condition which requires urgent access to a toilet.

The idea is that you can show this to a member of staff in a store, and they will allow you to use their toilets.

Note though that the use of a card is not a guarantee that you will be given access to the toilets – this is a purely voluntary scheme. I have personally heard from two friends who use these … one was denied access, and the other was shown where the staff toilets were.

Again, your delivery company may have these for you which they can supply, or you can obtain them from the two example companies below for £5 each.

https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/get-involved/become-a-member/member-benefits/cant-wait-card

https://www.ageukincontinence.co.uk/toilet-card

https://www.bladderandbowel.org/help-information/buy-the-just-cant-wait-card/