Launched in 1987 the Crohn’s and Colitis UK ‘Can’t Wait Card’ has helped thousands of their members with Inflammatory Bowel Disease gain access to bathroom facilities in an emergency without the embarrassment of having to explain their urgent need.
The purpose of the card is to make it easier for members to ask to use the toilets in busy shops, restaurants and other buildings, which may not be available to the general public; without having to give a long and often embarrassing explanation about their condition and urgency in a crowded area.
The Can’t Wait card is presented when someone with IBD is in an emergency and trying to avoid an accident in public. These customers require help, discretion and understanding.
A major anxiety for people living with a chronic health condition like Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis (IBD), is being refused access to toilet facilities or being confronted about why they are using a ‘disabled’ toilet. People with IBD often appear to look ‘okay’ on the outside, however are in a daily battle with a serious medical condition.
With this in mind the #GetYourBellyOut campaign sprang into action when an opportunity to help better promote the Can’t Wait card presented itself thanks to a good friend of the campaign Jamie Bowen and Swansea Business Improvement District (BID).
#GetYourBellyOut set about to create the Can’t Wait Card information packs, in collaboration with Jamie and Crohn’s and Colitis UK which outlines all that’s needed to know about the initiative and how retail outlets and businesses can get involved.
A modern twist was added by the belly team during a recent trip to the Crohn’s and Colitis UK headquarters in St.Albans when we helped to design an easily recognisable sticker that stores and restaurants could display in the windows which will work in conjunction with the card.
The card is a valued resource and in a recent Crohn’s and Colitis UK membership survey, 87% of members rated the card as being important or very important to them. The card gives holders a level of reassurance to access toilets in the absence of public facilities and to ask to jump to the front of a queue in an emergency.
The idea is that these participating store’s will help holders of the card to enter the premises at short notice, safe in the knowledge that they’re welcome to use the facilities. It’s hoped that this in turn will create brand loyalty which is a win-win for all parties involved in the scheme.
A continuous anxiety about suddenly needing the toilet and having very little time to find one can have a devastating impact on the ability to engage in regular activities away from home such as going to work, shopping or socializing. Life can become very isolating as patients often become housebound.
‘On a recent visit to Edinburgh I needed an urgent trip to the toilet, so popped into Costa Coffee but the toilets were locked. I showed my Can’t Wait Card to the charming young gentleman who unlocked the door for myself to use. This was the first time I have used the card so thanks to Costa, the young man and Crohn’s and Colitis UK for the card’ – Crohn’s and Colitis UK member.
The initiative is set to pilot in Swansea, South Wales with potential plans to roll out such schemes across the whole of the UK. Information packs were sent out a number of weeks ago and are now on the desks of the decision makers. We have received feedback with a number of large stores (details will be announced in due course by the charity) already signed up to back the scheme which #GetYourBellyOut feels will have a huge impact upon the daily lives of our supporters.
If your store, restaurant or business would be interested in supporting the Can’t Wait card initiative in Swansea please CONTACT US.
A similar scheme is already underway in Canada and has had great success, click here to find out more. Alternatively if you’d like to get a Can’t Wait Card then please sign up to the Crohn’s and Colitis UK membership, details of which can be found on their website.