Colostomy Association Campaigns

Guide to a Stoma-Friendly loo

Dec 11, 2015



The Colostomy Association is campaigning to improve toilet facilities for people living with a stoma across the UK. Almost one in 500 people in the UK have a stoma and, whether they be adults or children, they have additional needs when using the toilet; even a simple day trip can be a potential source of anxiety. Because the condition is ‘hidden’, they often face discrimination too, being challenged or criticised for using accessible toilets. In our recent survey more than 30 per cent of respondents stated that they had experienced problems of this nature in shops, sporting venues and visitor attractions etc.

Most loos do not meet the requirements of people with an ostomy and increase the risk of accidents and embarrassment for ostomates. The following changes are simple to implement and can make a huge difference to the experience of people living with a stoma. We can also provide free ‘Stoma-Friendly’ signage stickers for accessible toilets. 

Our guidelines are:


  • Hook on door - To hang clothing, handbags and luggage while changing stoma bags. This provides more space in the cubicle.
  • Shelf space - To enable ostomates to spread out their items easily and avoid having to use unsanitary surfaces.
  • Disposal bin in every cubicle - To avoid embarrassment for men and women having to dispose of their stoma bag in public view.


  • Accessible toilet signage - To highlight the right of ostomates to use the toilet. Reduces risk of hostility for ostomates when using an accessible toilet. 
  • Mirror - To enable users to see their stoma while changing their appliances.
  • Accessories - Ensure toilet roll, paper towels, handwash and other items are well-stocked.

Further Information

  • Hook on door – One hook at a height where items will not touch the floor is recommended. British Standards suggest two clothes hooks, one at 1050mm and the other at 1400mm above the floor.
  • Shelf space – British Standards suggest a flat topped close-coupled cistern providing a colostomy changing surface. For high or low level cisterns a separate colostomy changing shelf 125mm to 150mm deep and preferably 400mm wide, with its surface 950mm above floor level, should be provided

If you already provide these facilities, then we can provide you with stickers for your accessible toilets which will indicate this to users. For information on the Colostomy Association's guidelines on stoma-friendly toilets and to arrange to receive some stickers please contact us.


Colostomy Association registered charity number: 1113471 All material © 2017 Colostomy Association. Reproduced by prior permission only.

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