The healthcare system has come a long way in the united states but there is still a lack of education when it comes to interaction with people with disabilities. I would like to discuss the interaction between doctors and their staff and those that are blind or visually impaired because i can speak from personal experience. There must be an improvement in accessibility, in perceptions and attitudes and practical ways to be helpful.
One issue that I face when visiting a doctor’s office for the first time is the task of filling out all of the paperwork that is required. I am not able to read small print and therefore cannot independently fill out the forms. This can easily be made accessible to me by having the forms be available electronically. I would be able to use a screen reader on my computer to independently fill out the forms and it saves paper and time for everyone. Forms such as medicine instructions should also be made available in an electronic format.
Perceptions and Attitudes
I found that i do not get taken as serious by doctors when I visit on my own. I get written off as being incapable when they see my white cane. i find i get taken more seriously when I have someone with me. I also find that they will address the person I am with instead of addressing me. I would like to be treated as an independent adult as I am able to handle my own healthcare. Many times I have only had someone with me to help me fill out those endless forms. I find that i must have someone with me just to be taken seriously. Please treat those that are blind or visually impaired like you would treat anyone else that visits your office.
Practical Ways to Help
Now I would like to give some practical ways to improve the experience at a doctor’s office. First, offer sighted guide by letting the person hold your elbow. Second, describe the room and every procedure that you are going to perform from checking blood presure to drawing blood. Third, describe any medical instructions in great detail and fourth remember to address the patient no matter what disability they may have, they are a person just like you.