Making Your Medical Practice Accessible to Disabled Patients

Accessibility is an important factor to consider when thinking about your medical practice. After all, everyone needs medical care, including (and in some cases, especially) disabled individuals. Unfortunately, a lot of the things that impact an establishment’s accessibility can go under the radar to folks who don’t directly deal with disabilities on a day-to-day basis. Some things, such as ramps, are standard thanks to the ADA. However, there are many considerations that are not required but can greatly help improve access to disabled patients.

Virtual Appointments

There are many individuals who, due to physical or psychological symptoms, cannot leave their homes. It may even be in the best interest of everyone else involved as well to offer someone a virtual appointment, as it can minimize the risk of spreading illnesses. Providing access to virtual appointments can help ensure that disabled patients have an equal opportunity to access healthcare.

Lowered Check-in Desks

Wheelchair users will often not reach the same height as their standing cohorts. This means that when approaching a check-in counter, they can have difficulty reaching papers, pens, credit card machines, business cards, and sometimes go completely unnoticed as they are not in the line of sight of the staff. Ensuring that there is at least one counter with a reduced height can make sure that checking in for an appointment is less of a hassle for these individuals.

Contact Through Email

There are several reasons why email may be a better option for contacting your patient. Some folks are unable to speak or hear, while others simply have mental health conditions like anxiety that can be set off by phone calls. It is best to make sure that you have staff available during regular hours to respond to emails in cases such as these. 

Environmental Considerations

There are many medical conditions that can cause certain intense environmental stimuli to be debilitating and painful. Having a loud television in your waiting room, for instance, can make the area inaccessible for patients with certain sensory needs. It is important to consider things like lights, sound, and texture when setting up your office.

There are many difficulties associated with navigating the world as a disabled person. Fortunately, there are things that businesses and providers can take into account in order to minimize and mitigate these difficulties. Small things can make a huge difference when it comes to creating an accessible environment.

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