WHY are Waiting Rooms NOT Accessible?

WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 232Moderator Moderator
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I don't know how to put this lightly but every time we go to a Dr's appointment, walk in's, campus offices, actually ANY waiting room where you sit and wait for someone to come get you for an appointment- there is NO space for a wheelchair. I know this sounds crazy and for those of us not in a chair, well, you've probably never even noticed this. But, that matter of the fact is that every single place we have gone to to wait, Dan sit's in the middle feeling like a car in the middle of the parking lot. People walk around him, he's bumping into the "patient" chairs around him. It's very sad and frustrating. Have anyone else experienced anything like this? What are your thoughts?

Elena 
Your WAGS of SCI
(Elena and Brooke)

Comments

  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 151Moderator Moderator
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    I really agree and relate to this. It is funny because I have never really thought a lot about this before. But when I do go to a Dr's appointment I am sticking out and in the middle of the walk way. It is even more difficult and embarrassing when I am in my big power chair. If I try to turn I run into the tables and chairs. I can only go forward and back most of the time. It would be nice if those offices left an open section for people in wheelchairs to back into while they wait. Makes sense!
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • Monica.TMonica.T Posts: 98Member ✭✭
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    I completely agree! Doctors offices should know better (Charlie has 10 doctors); None of them have space in their waiting room for a wheelchair. And worse - only 1 of his doctor's offices have a wheelchair accessible stall in the bathroom! (His eye doctor) They all have handicap bathroom stalls but slapping a handicap sign on the door and throwing up a wider stall door with a single rail (in my opinion) does not make a stall wheelchair usable! Those stalls are barely wide enough to fit a wheelchair into! In my opinion only the stalls that actually have enough room to move the wheelchair beside the toilet for easy transfer are the only truly handicap accessible bathrooms.
  • BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 153Moderator Moderator
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    On a somewhat similar note, restaurants with barely any room to get to a table always make my brother feel like he's such a bother. I can't tell you how many times the host or hostess has asked people to get up for a second to let him through and apologized to the people for it, right in front of my brother. If you ask me, there should be no apology...it only makes him feel like more of a bother. Any decent person should be happy to get up for two seconds if it means someone else can enjoy a meal at the same restaurant. No apology necessary.
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 151Moderator Moderator
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    @BrookeU Going off what you said, I use a power chair and it is always annoying for me when I go out to eat and the tables are not high enough. Whenever I roll up to a table when I go out my knees always hit and I can't get under. It is really embarrassing for me when I cant get under the table and stick out in the walk way. I also agree with what you said. 
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • AskNurseLindaAskNurseLinda Posts: 74Moderator, Information Specialist Information Specialist
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    Absolutely, I always count the spots available for mobility equipment in any waiting room and make suggestions. One time, someone actually made a change but that was atypical. When dining, a table near the entrance is usually provided which avoids the navigation through a tight dining room but does not allow for much privacy.
    I wonder how well a polite business etiquette card would be received? So many people in the business world just don't think about mobility issues. They are simply unaware. I think most people would be more considerate, if they were educated about needs. Nurse Linda

    I'm online in this community every Wednesday from 8-9 PM ET to answer your SCI and paralysis related questions.

    Leave a comment any time below. Let's get the discussion going!

    Nurse Linda

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  • BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 153Moderator Moderator
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    @Zcollie, also relevant is that I’ve seen a lot of restaurants with only high-top tables with bar stools. And another issue I’m sure you’ve noticed is when tables have something (like a thick post in the middle) that prevents someone who uses a wheelchair from being able to sit with their legs fully under the table. Seems like aesthetics come before accessibility with a lot of restaurants.
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 151Moderator Moderator
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    @BrookeU Yes! that to. Very annoying and frustrating... 
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • skosillsskosills Posts: 13Member
    10 Comments
    Waiting rooms, also lab or other equipment lots of times. Dexa scan tables and Xray tables way too high and not able to raise up and down.
    My sister is a doctor and her rooms are not accessible either - patient tables that deviate from the normal height and configuration are more expensive so she doesn't have any.
    Sometimes it's been difficult to get assigned to wheelchair accessible hospital rooms. Can you believe that? The intake people don't even check, we just end up in a random regular room and oh, look, he can't do his bathroom routine. That one is the most irritating.
    Second most - the last time my husband was on a scale was when he was in a lab experiment more than ten years ago. The only place we've ever been where he could be weighed on a scale was the VA hospital doing the study.
    My husband is pretty assertive about his personal space - if the chairs are movable he'll just sort of toss it aside so he can fit. Then he's in the space and whoever else is around has to move the regular chair out of the way.
    Sandra
    Peer Mentor for able bodied care givers
    Wife of T7 Complete Para
  • Monica.TMonica.T Posts: 98Member ✭✭
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    Update from last post - Charlie just had his most recent visit to his GI Doctor, since his last visit she had moved to her new location; I was impressed with how wheelchair friendly Dr. Fran and her staff had tried to make everything. The parking lot has more handicap parking spaces, 3 of which are side-lift accessible. Inside there is no carpet, wide hallways, huge fully wheelchair accessible bathrooms, water fountains in three heights with no under pipes to bang knees against. The waiting room is wide open and the exam room was spacious too. Most wonderful was that she now has a wheelchair scale! The only issue was the exam table but Dr. Fran told us she plans to get a height adjustable table soon. :) / My suggestion for anyone facing these issues is to politely mention the problems to your doctor. On Charlie's last visit Dr. Fran had told us she was moving into a newer part of the building and asked if there was anything that would make visits more comfortable for Charlie; (I'm sure she asked her other patients the same question), I told Dr.Fran that wheelchair accessible bathrooms would be nice. Dr,Fran and her staff went well beyond just updating the bathrooms. Sometimes those around us don't know what to do because they don't share the same experience, and many want to help, they just need a nudge in the right direction. :)
  • BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 153Moderator Moderator
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    @Monica.T, that's awesome that she was so receptive to your thoughts and suggestions!
  • Monica.TMonica.T Posts: 98Member ✭✭
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    Weird experience at the hospital yesterday, (Charlie had to go for an outpatient test) the bathroom had a handicap stall - but it wasn't wide enough for his wheelchair to fit through the door! You would think hospitals would know better. When I receive their Survey I'm going to mention it in the comment section.
  • AskNurseLindaAskNurseLinda Posts: 74Moderator, Information Specialist Information Specialist
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    Monica, this is one of my biggest issues, accessibility that is not. The reason for it is that accessibility is designed by people who do not use it. Yes, they know the diameter of a wheelchair space for turning but this is only for general chairs, not specialty chairs. Plus, I wonder if the architects even think about the need to turn a chair in a restroom stall or that people need to access toilets from different angles some with caregivers, or how to close the door once inside.
    Every design should be reviewed by a person who uses accessibility features! If anyone sees some building or knows about some public construction, volunteer to advise. Perhaps it could turn into a paying position.
    Everyone gets an evaluation of their visit to a doctor or hospital setting. Be sure to include accessibility issues as Monica is doing. The question is not on the typical forms because no one is thinking about it. Write in your comments. This is important. Nurse Linda

    I'm online in this community every Wednesday from 8-9 PM ET to answer your SCI and paralysis related questions.

    Leave a comment any time below. Let's get the discussion going!

    Nurse Linda

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  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 232Moderator Moderator
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    Absolutely, and being beside my boyfriend when he has to move around the furniture in the room makes me feel more sad for him than anything. @Zcollie It seems like Dr's offices should be the one place that anyone should walk into and fit in rather than stick out.
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 232Moderator Moderator
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    I think you're completely correct when you say that most people just don't think about it. I always try to approach this delicately, because we are not out here to hurt anyone else, or make them feel silly. I just wish that we could have an open conversation going forward where buildings and offices could be designed to better suit everyone. The counters are usually too high for even little old ladies to see over, let along someone in a sitting position. @AskNurseLinda
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • BrookeUBrookeU Posts: 153Moderator Moderator
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    @AskNurseLinda is so right about these "accessible" space being designed by people who do not use them. My hope is that, moving forward, universal design will become the norm. One of my close friends is an interior design major, and she actually got to study universal design in one of her classes this semester. She asked me for photos of places that aren't ADA compliant, and I sent her some (because I'm sure we all in this community take pictures of these things), as well as elaborated on how ADA compliance isn't always enough. I was really happy to see that her major incorporated that into the curriculum. She showed me her designs that she made...and they prove that universally designed spaces can be beautiful!
  • DJWheelyBarsDJWheelyBars Posts: 3Member
    First Comment
    It’s funny how this works. We just have to back up to the closest wall. The people in the waiting room don’t know what to do either. I’ve had a guy try and move a chair for me, but the chairs were connected 😂 we both kind of got a good laugh out of it. Other people probably felt awkward, but their business is their business. I feel like if I’m having a sense of humor about something, and someone is paying attention they should too 🤷🏽‍♂️ That’s just me! 
  • AskNurseLindaAskNurseLinda Posts: 74Moderator, Information Specialist Information Specialist
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    Thanks for all of your comments. The best approach is a polite and civil one. Adding humor can decrease people's embarrassment and perhaps give them a little time to think about how the environment affects  abilities of all people. Complaining to the staff does not help as there is not really much they can do. We need to let the power people kindly know. It would be great to have an overnight fix but in the meantime, we edge just a bit closer with each encounter. Nurse Linda

    I'm online in this community every Wednesday from 8-9 PM ET to answer your SCI and paralysis related questions.

    Leave a comment any time below. Let's get the discussion going!

    Nurse Linda

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  • garrisonreddgarrisonredd Posts: 107Moderator Moderator
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    I always wondered why Dr offices do not have scales for individuals who use wheelchairs or do not have the ability to stand. Then they ask you what your weight is, has anybody else encountered this problem?
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 232Moderator Moderator
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    @garrisonredd YES!! I agree 100% with this as well. Nothing about Dr's offices makes sense in terms of disability. I wonder how long it will be before they reassess these things?

    @Zcollie Maybe we need to begin a petition and just inform the public around these things. Most of our friends don't realize that many restaurants, and restaurant bathrooms are not accessible, let alone Dr's offices and waiting rooms. This would be a great idea for a Instagram story...come along and see all the things I have to go through during the day. lol! 
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 151Moderator Moderator
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    @WAGSofSCI Yeah I agree!
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • AskNurseLindaAskNurseLinda Posts: 74Moderator, Information Specialist Information Specialist
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    Great idea. 
    Post any suggestions about accessibility that you think would be helpful on the blog. Then we can put it all together an create a very polite handout, news story or something. I am thinking about the obvious, ramps that only access the back of buildings, sizes of waiting rooms, dining rooms, and restrooms. There are many things that can be accomplished without extensive changes by owners. What are some of your issues? A solution is not necessary at this point, just what have you encountered? Nurse Linda

    I'm online in this community every Wednesday from 8-9 PM ET to answer your SCI and paralysis related questions.

    Leave a comment any time below. Let's get the discussion going!

    Nurse Linda

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