Over the last two years, The Independence Center (The IC) has been working hard to make medical and dental care more
accessible for people with disabilities. Through our IC Fund, created to honor our founder and her late husband, we have donated nearly $150,000 in accessible equipment and other tools to Medicaid/Medicare primary care and dental providers in the Pikes Peak region. By helping health care professionals take a larger role in providing accessible health services through disability-friendly equipment, The IC Fund committee hoped it might start a trend among other health care providers.
Last year, the IC Fund awarded accessible tables with built-in scales and Hoyer lifts to nine select Medicaid/Medicare medical practices in the region who had been nominated by patients. Medical practices love the tables because it helped them provide more comprehensive exams to their patients with disabilities. Many patients reported that it was life-changing knowing that their practice was fully prepared to accommodate them. For example, people with invisible disabilities were relieved that they could simply sit down on the table rather than being asked to “hop up” on it. Others appreciated the security of being safely transferred via the Hoyer lift instead of worrying about falling or being dropped. Some were just thankful to finally have an accurate weight after many years of “guesstimates.”
This year, we awarded accessible dental equipment to four area dental practices: Briargate Advanced Family Dental, Simply Kids Dental, Mission Medical Center, and Community Dental Health. They will receive Versatilt wheelchair lifts, medical masks with clear windows that allow patients to read lips, a complimentary ADA accessibility audit, and complimentary disability
competency training for staff.
The dental groups were officially recognized at a celebratory luncheon here at The IC and they were so enthusiastic about getting the equipment! They each brought their entire staff to the luncheon and stayed for an introductory session on disability competency training. We anticipate the Versatilt lifts to arrive in the Pikes Peak area sometime after the first of the year, and their staff will be trained how to use it.
I write for the entire IC Fund committee and our board of directors to say how thrilled we are to be able to make physical health and dental care more disability friendly in the Pikes Peak region. One’s health is precious and must be taken care of to live a long, independent life. In a few years, we’ll see if our investment sparked others to purchase disability-friendly medical equipment for their patients.
For a list of locations of medical and dental practices that serve people with disabilities, visit bit.ly/accessiblemed.
If you’ve had the chance to use the accessible exam tables or Versatilt lifts, I’d love to hear about your experience! Drop off a postcard at The IC or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.