As the world faces the COVID-19 crisis, it is time to evaluate what emergency preparedness means for the disability community and wheelchair-users in particular. The focus of this article is the development of the health care accessibility standard for people with disabilities. This advice is written by Terri-Lynn Langdon who is a resident of Ontario, Canada and uses a wheelchair. The opinions expressed are Terri-Lynns, and should not replace medical advice.
The healthcare concerns of the wheelchair-using community demands attention every-day in order to continue to make healthcare services and options increasingly accessible to all of us, and no time for this is more crucial than during the Covid19 crisis. Here are 5 things to consider when advocating for yourself in the healthcare system to ensure you are ready for whatever the happens.
- If you do not have a family doctor, reach out to your local health care network and inform them of your situation, and ask to be advised on next steps. In Ontario, contact Health Care Connect http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ms/healthcareconnect/pro/
- If there are non-essential medical needs during this time, speak to your healthcare provider about accessing your appointment remotely through tele-health or delaying it until after COVID-19 concerns are controlled.
- For essential care needs try to access a familiar clinic and use the same service as often as possible to help ensure continuity of healthcare and communications related to your healthcare visits. Make sure you let your healthcare team know what you need in order to make your healthcare experiences as accessible as possible, this includes transportation to medical appointments.
- In a medical emergency, you cannot control which hospital or medical team you receive care from. For this reason, keep a summary of your medical conditions, emergency contacts and medications in your wallet.
- Make sure that your medications are up to date and that you have access to them. Call your local pharmacy and see whether they will deliver your medications. Call ahead to pre-book delivery to ensure you are able to receive your medications on time.
Thank you for joining us! Come back next week for the second part of the Emergency Preparedness for People Who Use Wheelchairs series.
Health Care Connect Ontario. Accessed Online: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/ms/healthcareconnect/pro/
Lapofsky, D. (2019). Achieving a barrier-Free healthcare system. Osgood Hall Law School. Accessed on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2yuFz_z9V0
Medic Alert Canada (2020). Accessed Online: https://www.medicalert.ca/programs
Revoler (2020). Accessed Online: https://revolar.com/Thompson, G. (2020). What Must Be Done to Make Ontario’s Health Care System Fully Accessible to Patients with Disabilities? Check Out the AODA Alliance’s Finalized Framework for the Promised Health Care Accessibility Standard. Accessed Online: https://www.aoda.ca/what-must-be-done-to-make-ontarios-health-care-system-fully-accessible-to-patients-with-disabilities-check-out-the-aoda-alliances-finalized-framework-for-the-promised-health-care-accessibility-st/