New adult-sized changing table installed at center

   A new feature at the J.D. McCarty Center will offer increased accessibility to the families we serve.
   The center has installed a new adult-sized changing table in the family bathroom located in the main entrance.
   Rachel Shepherd, an occupational therapist, has been coordinating the project with colleague Jenny Hughes, a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, and said she's excited about the inclusivity and accessibility the table will bring to families who visit the center.
   "The effort was important to me because I felt that as a facility that sees a variety of diagnoses and that works with children across the lifespan, it was important for us to be able to meet a need and remove a barrier that many of our families have to face when going out into the community," Shepherd said. "Not only this, but this bathroom option is accessible to anyone in the building, and you do not have to ask to use it, providing for privacy and dignity of the individual."
   Shepherd said she became interested in the project after attending a conference in 2022 where Oklahoma City resident Audra Beasley spoke about her efforts to advocate to install adult-sized changing tables in state-owned buildings.
   Beasley, a mother of three who has a son with spina bifida, has said installing the tables provides restroom access to those requiring caregiver assistance.
   Shepherd said the talk motivated her to ask center administrators to install a table in the center's building. Administrators supported the project and the center's maintenance crew installed the table this spring.
   The changing table features a lift so a family can adjust the height for an easier transfer. It also can accommodate up to 375 pounds for a weight limit.
   The table is available now at the center with an instructional sign to guide visitors on how to use the changing station.
   Beasley said the center now joins some other state buildings in installing an adult changing table. Others include the Oklahoma Children's Hospital and the Oklahoma History Center. The First Americans Museum also features a universal adult changing table in a family restroom, she said.
   Beasley said she is thrilled to see the McCarty Center add the adult table.
   "It's amazing. That right there, that's what keeps me going," she said about her advocacy work.
   Beasley said her hope is to see more universal tables installed in buildings nationwide.
   "I believe we need updated building standards that include all people," Beasley said.
   Shepherd said her hope is that the table will offer improved accessibility for all who visit the center.
   "The overall benefits of this table are that our families and children that we serve will no longer have to overcome a barrier when they come to our facility. They will not have to ask to utilize the bathroom and caregivers will not have to ask where the best option to change their older child would be," Shepherd said. "The table is height adjustable, which will provide for improved caregiver ergonomics when changing their child. The changing table will be open to both inpatients, outpatients and staff who may need this table as an option."

Employees with changing table
Sharla Bardin