Lifestyle

How to make your venue wheelchair friendly

Not too long ago the daily struggles of disabled people were largely ignored. City planners and architects failed to consider that there are a significant number of people living with disabilities who simply cannot get around or function vaguely normally in a society that doesn’t cater to their needs. As such a much greater focus on the needs of disabled people came into being. In some instances, these are legislated, while in others they are just recommendations. Whatever the case, if you are looking to make sure that your venue is wheelchair friendly then these are some of the adaptations that you will have to consider.

Hoists

Many people use wheelchairs for getting around, but they prefer not to be sitting in them the whole time. But many people either lack the ability or the strength to get in and out of the chair. This is a problem for both the person in the chair and their carer or partner. So, having a wheelchair hoist present on site can make a huge difference. Your guest might be perfectly happy to stay in the chair for the most part, but perhaps they are staying overnight or the want to access the toilet. They cannot be in the chair permanently and the hoist is a massive help in moving them from this position.

Parking

This is an obvious thing, but it is important. Most venues and malls now boast disabled parking. It is a simple courtesy and it goes a long way towards making life a lot easier for the frail and disabled. Perhaps more importantly than just demarcating a spot for disabled people to park is ensuring that it also has appropriate ramps and that it isn’t used by lazy or rude able-bodied people. If you are going to install a special bay for the disabled, then make sure that it is not abused or misused.

Ramps

It might sound like an obvious thing to say but many people simply cannot make the connection. Wheelchairs do not cope well with stairs or rough terrain. As such any venue that wants to be considered as wheelchair friendly needs to have ramps installed. These ramps need to confirm to certain specifications in terms of both width and gradient. Local regulations and recommendations can be found online. A quick Google search will be the best way to find out if you are compliant.

Bathrooms

People in wheelchairs need to go to the bathroom. While some might be forced to make use of colostomy bags there are plenty of people who don’t need such drastic intervention. Typical bathroom stalls do not make it possible to get from a chair onto the commode and as such disabled bathrooms need a significant amount of adaptation. They need to be much broader for a start. There need to be hoists or handles present to enable the person to support themselves. Taps tend to look different as well. Same with the toilets flushing mechanisms. The point is, you need to be able to cater to the disabled person as telling them that there are no toilet facilities is not going to win you any friends.

 

 

 

 

About the author

Oliver Revilo