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For March 2012:

How can doctors offices be made more accessible?

Believe it or not, this is one of the places that I always hope would be accessible for a blind person and I am extremely lucky that my family physician's office is very accessible to me. Now, I am just not talking about access to the building itself, I am talking about the office within the building. Chances are that the doctor themselves does not really have too much control over access to the building in which their office is located but I do believe that they can do quite a bit to make their own office accessible to a blind person.

If they do indeed have control over making it possible for some accessibility features outside of their office, then here are my tips:

  • Place Braille and raised large print labels on the buttons of their elevators.
  • Make sure that their elevators are well lit.
  • Take the time to ensure that the doors to their elevators are very distinguishable.

Continuing on:

  • Make sure that the door to their office is painted in a bright and distinguishable color.
  • Ensure that their office is well lit.
  • Use brightly colored carpeting in the office if needed.
  • Take the time to ensure that floors are also brightly colored.
  • Make it possible for a blind person to be able to find the receptionist's counter with as little difficulty as possible. That is, without having to navigate through chairs and tables.
  • Arrange chairs in such a manner so as to enable a blind person to find a seat with as little difficulty after they have finished checking in at the receptionist's counter.
  • Ensure that doors leading to patient rooms are brightly colored and that the rooms are well lit.

Finally, some important training for staff. It is really important for staff to know how to guide a blind patient and this includes the doctor as well. I have to tell you that in so many instances, doctors do not seem sure as to how to provide guidance to a blind patient. Their guiding techniques are often very poor.

I'll tell you too that my family doctor is one of the best ones when it comes to guiding a blind patient and her staff is more than well trained. Her name is DR Dani Manis and she is a family physician practicing in North York.

So there you have it; some useful tips on accessibility for a doctor's office.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your free lance writer and roving reporter wishing you a terrific day.

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