At the heart of the design for the new hospital was accessibility and inclusion, to ensure West Park is a great place to be for all patients, staff, volunteers and families.
One key initiative was the introduction of gender-inclusive washrooms throughout the building, which will have profound impacts beyond patient care.
For transgender and non-gender conforming individuals, using public washrooms can be a source of stress and anxiety.
In Ontario, 57 per cent of trans Ontarians have avoided using public facilities when they have needed to go, for fear of harassment, according to the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
“Accessing the washroom is a basic human need and everyone deserves to use the facilities with the same dignity and respect when they are at West Park,” says Shelley Ditty, Vice-President, Campus Development and Support Services.
“The introduction of gender-inclusive washrooms in the new hospital is a small but important step in the organization’s path toward healthcare equity.”
In the new hospital, there will be one gender-inclusive washroom directly across from the Café and one on each floor (Levels 1 to 6) by the elevators in the Outpatient Block. For privacy and comfort, the multi-stalled washrooms will have floor-to-ceiling walls.
With no gender affiliation, these accessible washrooms will be available for all patients, staff and visitors. In addition to being gender inclusive, the washrooms also support patients with disabilities as many caregivers, who often belong to another gender, accompany and support them in the restroom.
Designated male and female washrooms will also be available throughout the new facility.