Sunday, September 15, 2019
A story in Kaiser Health News, In Search Of Age-Friendly Health Care, Finding Room For Improvement highlights needed design improvements within health care facilities.
For older adults, especially those who are frail, who have impaired cognition, or who have trouble seeing, hearing and moving around, health care facilities can be difficult to navigate and, occasionally, perilous.
Grab bars may not be placed where they’re needed. Doors may be too heavy to open easily. Chairs in waiting rooms may lack arms that someone can use to help them stand up.
Toilets may be too low to rise from easily. Examination tables may be too high to get onto. Lettering on signs may be too small to read. And there may not be a place to sit down while walking down a hallway if a break is needed.
Examining the changes from the "ground-up" so to speak, the article starts with the issues from poorly thought-out parking: inconvenient location of the lot to insufficient spaces for those with disabilities. Don't forget signage---is there enough? Is it logically located? Is it hard-to read? (think poor contrast, glare or hard-to read fonts). Then there are steep ramps, a lack of available walkers and wheelchairs to borrow at the facility's entrance and a lack of automatic doors. Ever been asked by the receptionist to take a clipboard of forms to fill out at your seat? Of course-no big deal--unless you use a walker or two canes--talk about having your hands full! Oh and let's get started about seats--too low, too soft, no arms or all with arms!
The article is an interesting read and hopefully those who design health care facilities will think about these things--because humans don't all come in one size or all have the same abilities or needs.