wheelchair barriers

10+ ways to make your wheelchair work better for you

Wheelchairs aren’t always built with the best patient experience in mind. But many PatientsLikeMe members are sharing about the creative hacks and useful accessories they’ve used to make their wheelchairs better suit their needs. Here are some suggestions — how many have you tried? Making it more comfortable: Egg crate cushions, it’s really important to get a good quality cushion, you could even have a read of this cushions buying guide to help you find the perfect one! ROHO cushion (or on Amazon) Jay 2 Combi cushion: One member says “…it has done the job so far – I’ve never had a pressure sore in all the years.” Heated seat cushions Neck braces like the Miami J Collar (and others) can help with neck weakness Making life easier: A cup holder clamp (see this how-to video) A Drink-Aide water bottle for hands-free drinking An armrest bag to keep things handy Threshold ramps can make it easier to maneuver your wheelchair between rooms Elevators and lift to help you get upstairs. You could check out something like these Terry domestic lifts & elevators to give you a better idea of what you could get to make your home life more comfortable. Tablet clamps like this one from Octa How have you modified your wheelchair? Are …

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Navigating the Healthcare System with Disabilities

Are medical facilities prepared to meet the needs of disabled individuals?  It would seem reasonable to think so, but according to PatientsLikeMe members, that’s not always the case. For example, consider the case of a female patient using a powered wheelchair who doesn’t have the upper body strength to transfer herself out of the chair.  How does she transfer from the wheelchair to an exam table, dentist chair, mammogram booth or even a weight scale in the doctor’s office?  Assistance is required, yet according to our members, some medical facilities and doctor’s offices claim they cannot provide assistance due to liability issues (e.g., the risk of being sued by the patient or the risk of a worker’s comp claim due to a staff injury).  So what’s the patient to do? In a discussion in our Multiple Sclerosis Forum, patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) posited that the only immediate solutions appeared to be asking the provider to meet the patient at a nearby hospital (which not all providers will agree to do), changing providers (which is not always easy given insurance networks and geographic location), or switching to home healthcare (which can mean not getting to see your provider in person). …

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Reflecting on National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Have your health conditions ever caused you to lose a job? Or prevented you from applying – or getting hired – in the first place? October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an event that aims to recognize the skills that those with disabilities bring to the workforce and promote employment opportunities and access for those with disabilities. The issue, of course, is that discrimination, employment barriers and higher rates of unemployment remain ongoing concerns for Americans with disabilities. Here’s what the White House’s Presidential Proclamation has to say about these troubling statistics: “More than 20 years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities, including injured veterans, are making immeasurable contributions to workplaces across our country.  Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities remains too high — nearly double the rate of people without disabilities — and reversing this trend is crucial.” – President Barack Obama Last week, we featured a post about wheelchair barriers and hazards and asked readers to appraise their neighborhood for wheelchair accessibility. Today, we ask you to think about the barriers to employment that might exist for people with disabilities – both physical and mental – in your …

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Creating Wheelchair Awareness Through Photos

For someone who uses a wheelchair, there are barriers and hazards everywhere – things that others may not see. But how do you raise visibility of the issue? One of our longtime MS members, gamma, decided that a photo essay of the obstacles that exist in her neighborhood (considered a wheelchair-friendly community) and others would the best way to illustrate the problem. “My hope is that when this presentation is completed I can get it into the hands of people that can use it to raise awareness about unsafe situations for the wheelchair or stroller user,” she says. What’s an example of a hazard or barrier? Wheelchair users at PatientsLikeMe – who number more than 1,300 and use both powered and manual wheelchairs – report having difficulty with potholes, cobblestone entrances, uneven sidewalks, narrow aisles, yellow bumps on ramps, heavy doors and more. But it’s easier to “see” these hazards and barriers than just list them. That’s why gamma is calling for photo submissions. Have you encountered something in your neighborhood that would pose problems for a wheelchair user? Snap a photo to aid this grassroots patient project. Then send it to shalegamma@aol.com along with your full name for credit. …

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