Accessibility and accommodations for patients with mobility disabilities in a large healthcare system: How are we doing?
People with disabilities continue to experience health disparities resulting from inaccessibility of healthcare practices and medical diagnostic equipment (MDE).
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accessibility of and accommodations for patients with mobility disabilities in clinics of a large healthcare system in the South Atlantic division of the U.S., to determine if accessibility was different based on clinic type, and to identify areas for improvement to increase accessibility.
This was a cross-sectional study of 214 healthcare professionals conducted between March and June of 2018. Chi square tests and ANOVA were used to compare accessibility between primary care, hospital based, and private diagnostic clinics.
A relatively high proportions of respondents reported that their clinic had implemented many accessible features. However, significant differences were found by clinic type with primary care clinics having better access to MDE including height adjustable exam tables, scales with handrails, wheelchair accessible scales, or padded leg supports. However, primary care clinics were less likely to have lifts for transferring patients. The percent of clinics with MDE was higher than that reported in previous studies which may be due to the safe patient handling and mobility program implemented at the healthcare system. Accommodations for patients when a barrier to care is encountered remain an area for improvement.
While accessibility for people with disabilities was greater in this healthcare system, areas for improvement were identified to help healthcare professional care for their patients with disabilities.
Pharr, JR; James, T; Yeung, Y-L
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