How Your Healthcare Business Can Do More For Disabled Customers

A large part of making your healthcare business more successful is ensuring that you are able to reach and retain as many patients and clients as possible. In order to do this, however, you have to consider the barriers that might prevent people from getting the treatment they need and, of those, there are few that are potentially more difficult that disability. Here, we’re going to look at what you can do to better help patients with disability get the level of care that they deserve.

Make your office accessible

Accessibility to your practice and your services is very likely to be a legal requirement but, even so, by going the extra mile to fulfil your moral duty to your patients with disability, you can make it very clear that they are welcome to your business. This can include installations such as ramps, handlebars, automatically opening doors and the like, but you should also remember that people with vision and hearing impairment may also need accommodation, so consider working with an accessibility consultant to be as comprehensive in your efforts as possible.

Offer mobility aids

Your healthcare practice can be made a lot more accessible to those with mobility aids, such as ramps for wheelchair users. However, you can also offer your own mobility aids, as well. By providing wheelchairs, walkers, and other medical devices that  can help with moment, you can make it easy to help those who might need extra mobility help. A lot of patients are going to need that assistance with mobility after treatment, as well, such as if they have had surgery and are temporarily less mobile. Sometimes, bringing their own equipment isn’t going to be convenient. Think about the stock of mobility healthcare equipment that you might be able to keep on hand.

Establish disabled parking zones

If you offer any room for your clinic or practice’s patients to park their cars, then you also have to consider your patients with disability, as well. Having spots for them that allow for a little more space can ensure that they are able to access your offices with ease. It’s important to provide this space for the patients who need it, but you should also avoid challenging anyone using the space who you believe might not need it. For instance, they may have an invisible disability, or the person driving may not, in fact, be the person with the disability, but might be helping a friend or family member, making the space still a necessity for them. It’s an unfortunate reality that plenty of people have made the mistake of discriminating against people with disability even when they thought they were trying to be helpful.

Help those who might not be able to reach the office

For some people, mobility issues or other factors might make it so that they’re not able to physically make it to appointments as often as they might prefer. Where that is the case, you may want to think about how you can bring your services to them. This can include home visits and leaving your office, but that isn’t always necessary. Telemedicine is making it a lot easier for patients to connect to their healthcare providers through the internet. For instance, you can keep up with them through remote appointments, addressing their concerns as best as possible. Some cases might require in-person and physical assessments of their health, but where it’s possible, remote technology can be of great benefit.

Help remove the barriers to treatment they face

Aside from the practical and physical barriers that might make it more difficult for people with disability to access your healthcare services, you should think about the other kinds of barriers they might face, such as financial. For instance, if you have a large population of patients with disability, then you might want to look at becoming an NDIS provider, so that you can help them cut the costs associated with treatment. NDIS software can make it a lot easier to manage and treat patients making use of these provisions, as well. You can play a very active role in helping patients with disability make their treatment more affordable.

Consider staff for specialized needs

There are some patients who are living with disability that might require an extra level of preparedness on your end  In some cases, either training your staff to accommodate these specialized needs, or hiring new staff with the skills you need may be worth considering. For instance, for those living with hearing impairment, you might want to have a member of staff who is able to interpret and respond in sign language. You may also want to ensure that you have staff who are trained in things such as mobility assistance and transferral. Building a team of staff with the skills necessary to address a wide range of specialized needs can make sure that your patients feel welcomed and that their disability does not present a major burden to treatment.

Ensure professional courtesy at every level

Communicating with people who have disabilities shouldn’t be any different from communicating to able-bodied, neurotypical individuals but, unfortunately, a lot of people feel like they can be condescended to or talked down to. A lot of this can be helped with disability sensitivity training for you and your staff. Speaking directly to the patient, and not their carer, treating them with respect, as independent actors, and adjusting appropriately if, for instance, they do not understand information, by repeating it or breaking it down with more common language can all help your patients feel much more respected. If a patient feels like treatment of them is discriminatory, then they are simply not likely to return any time soon.

Patients with disability deserve quality care and great service just as much as any other patient does. Consider the tips above and look at which of them you can begin to immediately implement within your practice, as well as how you shape yours to be an accessible business in the long run.


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