The city of East Ridge installed a universal table in a special designated family restroom at Camp Jordan as part of a multi-organization effort to support adult changing tables in public facilities statewide.
The new “Family Restroom with a Universal Changing Table,” ready for use beginning Tuesday, June 7, is designed to accommodate individuals with a range of disabilities and medical conditions that require them to receive toileting assistance, such as muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, paraplegia, Cerebral Palsy, or those recovering from a stroke. Having access to such a table will provide a clean and safe environment, eliminating the unhygienic option of placing a loved one on a bathroom floor.
The installation of the adult changing table at Camp Jordan evolved from feedback shared by TennCare MCO BlueCare Tennessee’s advisory board for members with disabilities, as well as the Tennessee General Assembly's decision to invest $1 million to increase access to universal access to changing tables across the state..
Esther Helton, who also serves on the East Ridge City Council, worked with Roddey Coe, a governor-appointed member of the Tennessee Council of Developmental Disabilities, to gain unanimous support from the City Council to install a table at Camp Jordan. Mr. Coe was aware of BlueCare’s existing member-inspired community initiative to support adult changing tables and connected with the insurer, who agreed to donate an adult changing table for the Camp Jordan site.
“Universal Changing tables help everyone,” said Rep. Helton. “It is a place where caregivers can conveniently and safely assist with bathroom needs for those unable to care for themselves. Everyone deserves a safe, dignified and hygienic space for toileting. I am thrilled that the first table is at Camp Jordan Park in my hometown.”
BlueCare will also place additional changing tables at sites in Shelby County, Davidson County, and Knoxville.
“We hope this will help end a dilemma that forces families with diverse needs to choose between isolating themselves at home or potentially putting their health and dignity at risk while out in the community,” said Jeremy Scruggs, health promotion manager for BlueCare Tennessee.
Beyond the investments from BlueCare and the state legislature, several state organizations have elected to address this community need. Over the next eight to ten years, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has agreed to install adult changing tables in all rest areas and welcome centers. Also, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has agreed to install the changing tables in all state parks.
“I want to thank Rep. Helton and Roddey Coe in their efforts to get this amenity off the ground,” said East Ridge Mayor Brian Williams. “I would also like to thank the East Ridge City Council for their unanimous support along with BlueCare Tennessee, who agreed to partner with the city and donate an adult changing table for installation at the Camp Jordan site.”
Mayor Williams conveyed the city’s excitement in being able to provide a universal changing table at Camp Jordan, providing families a solution so they can extend their stays and won't have to go out to their cars, or go home early, when someone needs to be changed.
I think this will reduce anxiety for families,” said Williams. “It will also help to make them feel included - that we have thought of their needs, and they are able to stay longer to enjoy activities at our park. We hope this added amenity enhances their experience in our city.”
More information can be found at https://www.tn.gov/cdd/current-priorities/adult-changing-tables.html or by contacting the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities via email firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 615-532-6615.