When you’re going to redesign your medical office, you will most likely think about the budget you need. The appropriate décor and furniture will also come across your mind as well. Definitely, you want your clinic to be beneficial to your patients. With the endless possibilities and choices that can stream into your mind, you might be swept with excitement that you could forget one crucial thing about your clinic’s design. It must comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA.
What the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires in medical facilities
The ADA requires all medical providers and their facilities to provide “full and equal” access to healthcare services and spaces. The same law also requires clinics and medical practitioners to make reasonable modifications to their policies, routines, procedures, and systems in order to allow full and equal access. Note that full and equal access means all kinds of patients, including persons with disabilities (PWDs), should be able to enter and move around your clinic for treatment or check-ups.
Making your clinic easy and comfortable for PWDs to move around is important. They need to see their doctors more often. A clinic designed to suit their needs helps them feel better when they are going to enter your clinic, wait for you, and see you.
To make your clinic compliant with the requirements of the ADA, it should have parking spaces reserved for patients with disabilities. Its entrances and paths should also have ramps and cuts. The doorways of your clinic should be wide enough for them to enter. Your medical staff should always take the initiative in asking what patients with disabilities need and in assisting them in the best way they can.
The furniture should be arranged in a way that minimizes the effort of people who have to use wheelchairs, canes, guide dogs, or crutches when they have to go from one place to another in your clinic. There should be bathrooms exclusive for their use on every floor of your medical facility. These bathrooms should have grab bars, raised toilet seats, and enough space for patients with disabilities to maneuver inside.
Your clinic must also have ADA-compliant medical furniture
Aside from these features and considerations, your medical furniture should also be ADA compliant. Persons with disabilities need to assume particular positions and poses when they need to be examined or treated. Regular examining tables and beds give them a hard time or make it impossible for them to lie down properly. You need to have your medical furniture replaced with furniture that can make it easy both for persons with disabilities and those without disabilities to lie down and be examined.
A height adjustable bed, table, or seat will allow patients to transfer from their wheelchair or crutches readily. Tables and chairs with handrails, cushions, and straps can help support patients to keep still while ensuring comfort in their position.
There are also different kinds of patient lifts that your clinic must have to transfer and transport patients safely and conveniently. These lifts can help reduce the risk of injury for both the patients and staff, making these lifts vital in any medical institution.
Patients need space
When planning the redesigning or remodeling of your clinic, make sure that there is ample room for patients with disabilities to navigate through your clinic. The exam rooms should also enable patients to move easily.
Thus, your clinic’s exam room, waiting room, and hallways must have a minimum of 25 square feet of clear floor space so that patients using mobility aids such as wheelchairs can freely turn towards any direction they need to go. Both sides of the exam table should have a free space of at least 10 square feet to make it efficient for patients to go to the edge of the table and put themselves on the left or right side of the bed.
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