Blog / Focus: Facility Design

Ways to improve access for disabled patients

By Poppy Gallagher / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
June 15, 2017

Being able to get around with ease is something that many of us tend to take for granted. From stairs to narrow passages and thresholds, these are all everyday barriers that we walk over and around every single day. For those with physical difficulties, the picture is entirely different. Disabled patients face far more danger and difficulty than we could ever imagin, which is why it is important to draw attention to ways in which access can and should be improved in any way possible.

It has been calculated that there are more than 10 million disabled people in the UK. Of this number, 2 million have sight problems, 6.9 million are of a working age and 5 million are over the state pension age. This proves that there is a huge demand for there to be increased alterations and modifications made across the country to allow improved access for disabled patients. When we talk about increasing access for the disabled, we are talking about improving a particular environment that can be used by everyone in an inclusive way.

Here are some of the ways in which you can ensure that there is no discrimination between those who are non-disabled and those who are.


One way in which you can improve accessibility for disabled individuals is by widening doorways so that wheelchairs and mobility scooters can pass through easily. This will allow more people to gain access to the goods and services they need and not limit those who have disabilities with being able to live their lives in a normal way.


Replacing steps with ramps will, again, enable those with mobility scooters the chance to get around a building or enter into a facility easily.

Switches and handles

Through moving light switches, door handles and other important details that can be found on the surfaces of doors and walls, you will allow those who have a difficultly with reaching up be able to have the same access to switches etc. as someone more able bodied.

Fire alarms

Fire alarms are mandatory in many buildings, however not all are designed to be used by those who are suffer from audio problems. Through putting in place audio-visual fire alarms you allow more people to have access to their life saving power.

Bathroom facilities

Providing accessible toilet facilities is vital when it comes to providing disabled people with basic facilities.

All employers have a duty to provide the necessary changes needed to ensure that disabled workers are not in any way discriminated against in any way, shape or form. The smallest of gestures such as offering a designated location to charge mobility scooter batteries to offering any form of paperwork in braille could make all the difference when it comes to making the lives of those with disabilities that much more comfortable.

As time goes on, more and more people with disabilities are being recognised, valued and their needs better understood. People with disabilities make up a vast proportion of the population and serve as a highly valuable pool of volunteers, staff and contributors to our everyday lives. Seeking to actively reduce the number of barriers those with disabilities face on an everyday basis should be a primary focus when it comes to society moving forwards in terms of educating the population about the sorts of issues that they face.



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