Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 52 Number 6, 2015
   Pages 653 — 662

Abstract — Accessibility of outpatient healthcare providers for wheelchair users: Pilot study

Karen L. Frost, PhD, MBA;1* Gina Bertocci, PhD, PE;1 Michael D. Stillman, MD;2 Craig Smalley, MEng;1 Steve Williams, MD3

1Department of Bioengineering, J. B. Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY; Departments of 2Internal Medicine and 3Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

Abstract — The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires full and equal access to healthcare services and facilities, yet studies indicate individuals with mobility disabilities receive less than thorough care as a result of ADA noncompliance. The objective of our pilot study was to assess ADA compliance within a convenience sample of healthcare clinics affiliated with a statewide healthcare network. Site assessments based on the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities were performed at 30 primary care and specialty care clinics. Clinical managers completed a questionnaire on standard practices for examining and treating patients whose primary means of mobility is a wheelchair. We found a majority of restrooms (83%) and examination rooms (93%) were noncompliant with one or more ADA requirements. Seventy percent of clinical managers reported not owning a height-adjustable examination table or wheelchair accessible weight scale. Furthermore, patients were examined in their wheelchairs (70%–87%), asked to bring someone to assist with transfers (30%), or referred elsewhere due to an inaccessible clinic (6%). These methods of accommodation are not compliant with the ADA. We recommend clinics conduct ADA self-assessments and provide training for clinical staff on the ADA and requirements for accommodating individuals with mobility disabilities.

Key words: accessibility, accessible healthcare, accommodation, ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, equal access, medical device, mobility disability, wheelchair, wheelchair users.

View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 52, No.6

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Frost KL, Bertocci G, Stillman MD, Smalley C, Williams S. Accessibility of outpatient healthcare providers for wheelchair users: Pilot study. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015;52(6):653–62.

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Last Reviewed or Updated  Tuesday, October 27, 2015 9:56 AM

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