Due to barriers, individuals with disabilities are less likely to get routine preventative medial care than people without disabilities. The American Disability Act (ADA) of 1990 states that a disabled patient should receive the exact treatment that a non disabled patient receives?
Have you ever been to the doctor and they examined you in your wheelchair? Would they examine a non-wheelchair patient in a chair? All medical facilities are required to have an accessible examination room. The number of rooms is depending on the size of the facility. When you call for an appointment you should let the staff know you need an accessible room. The staff should reserve the room for the time of your appointment. A disabled patient should not have to wait any longer than a non disabled patient because an accessible room is not available.
According to the ADA exam rooms need to have clearance for a wheelchair, scooter, walker or crutches. It also needs to have clearance on both sides of the exam table for patients who can only transfer on their left or right side. The exam table needs to accommodate the disabled patient as well. This means that the table needs to be adjustable to lower the height so one can transfer from a wheelchair. If the table is not adjustable then the practice must have alternative accommodations such as a hoyer lift or ceiling lift.
When was the last time someone weighed you? Usually every mobile patient gets weighed as part of their exam. Many practices can't accommodate this simple procedure for their patients who are wheelchair bound. According to the ADA all medical practices need to have a scale with a platform large enough to fit a wheelchair. An alternative option may include a scale integrated into a patient lift, hospital bed, or exam table.
As a disabled patient you are entitled to the same care as anyone else. If you bring a companion to your appointment the staff is not allowed to ask them for assistance. Not everyone will bring a caregiver thus a medical facility is responsible for training their staff on proper transfer techniques, accessible equipment availability and how to use the equipment.
If you are not receiving proper medical care due to accessibility barriers contact the ADA at 800-514-0301 or visit their website at www.ada.gov .
The American Disability Act covers hospital accessibility as well. In my next article I will address some of those requirements. If you want to receive that article or any of my other articles on disabilities in the health field make sure your become a subscriber.