As someone who runs a hospital, it's in your best interest to make sure that all of your patients are receiving the best possible care. This means that you will have to make special accommodations for your handicapped patients, both in the building itself, and in the types of treatment offered by your staff. By utilizing some of the items on this list, you'll be able to provide a sense of ease and better care for all of your patients.
1. Better Building Access
Not only will your handicapped patients have to get into the hospital building, which can be a challenge, but they'll also have to navigate the halls and stairways. This can be particularly difficult for those who use wheelchairs, particularly if they're forced to go without their motorized wheelchair during their stay at the hospital. There may be elevators, but if a patient only needs to go up or down one level, an elevator may be a time consuming and tedious way to get there.
Installing a portable chair lift is a fantastic solution, saving you from having to install a chair lift on every floor, while still being able to accommodate patients wherever they are in the hospital. The patient will be able to switch from wheelchair to chair lift with ease, and the lift can be brought along with them, increasing their sense of independence and mobility within the building.
2. Wheelchair-Accessible Rooms
It is your responsibility to ensure that every room of your hospital is accessible to any patient in a wheelchair. This might mean setting aside specific examination rooms or bathrooms that have the appropriate lifts and equipment for the patient's safety and ease of access, particularly if your budget is tight, and that the doorways are the appropriate width.
Staff should be trained on safe lifting techniques in order to avoid injuries, and there should be adequate floor space for patients to make the necessary maneuvers to use the lifting equipment safely. An adjustable height exam table is a great idea for avoiding strenuous lifting for your staff while making it easy for patients to be transferred from their wheelchair to the table for an examination. Make sure to install railings and bars at appropriate locations so patients can make themselves comfortable and are able to move themselves as they are able.
3. Wheelchair-Accessible Equipment
A common problem facing handicapped patients is the use of equipment that requires laying flat, with limited to no movement, such as radiology equipment. Patients will have to use these machines for a wide variety of reasons, yet it may be impossible for them to do so, particularly if they have a mobility disability. In this instance, having equipment that can be raised and lowered is incredibly useful, as well as having towels, wedges, or knowledgeable staff nearby to help the individual maintain the appropriate position for the examination.
Some machines, such as the mammography machine, will usually require a patient to stand for their examination, so it'll be necessary to have an adjustable unit for wheelchair bound patients, as well as appropriate space surrounding the equipment for them to adjust their wheelchair for the exam. There should also be accessible scales for weighing handicapped patients, sloped for easy access by wheelchair and with a large enough platform to accommodate it.
4. Appropriate Staff Training
Last but not least, it's essential that any staff who will be interacting with handicapped patients is trained properly for the job. This means being trained on safe lifting techniques, ease of use with the wheelchair accessible equipment, and proper use of positioning aids. Above all, make it clear that not all handicapped patients will require the same assistance, and asking questions is of vital importance to their comfort and care.
By using these tips, your hospital's handicap accommodations will be on their way to completion. Your handicapped patients will thank you for taking the time to put appropriate measures in place to ensure their safety and comfort during their stay at the hospital.