The founder of Access Israel, Yuval Wanger, asked the Ministry of Health "Follow the accessibility regulations for people with disabilities in this crisis"
The request was made following a number of incidents that occurred in the fight against the virus due to a lack of attention by the Ministry of Health to make sure that the health services are accessible for people with disabilities in the clinics, hospitals, testing facilities. In addition, there is also a lack of accessible information provided to the public on the websites and in general
Access Israel requests from the Ministry of Health that all the services given in regards to the Coronavirus should be accessible for people with all kinds of disabilities, such as mobility, visual, hearing or cognitive disabilities as well as anxiety issues.
Is it important to make sure that in the following places, accessible services will be given:
1. Testing facilities
2. Clinics that treat patients infected by the Coronavirus
4. Magen David Adom and other first responder teams
5. The quarantine hotels
6. All other services given to the public
7. The Ministry of Health
Here are a number of suggestions that Access Israel highly suggests to follow:
1. Make sure that physical accessibility is provided from start to end, beginning with accessible parking places, accessible pathways, accessible registration desk with hearing loops for people with hearing disabilities, accessible bathroom and an accessible treatment room.
2. In the clinics there should be at least one room that is wheelchair accessible with an entrance that is a minimum of 80 cm wide, an area of 150 cm that allows free movement in a wheelchair and a treatment bed that can be lowered.
3. For quarantine and hospitalization at least 5% of the rooms should be wheelchair accessible, with beds that go up and down, wheelchair accessible toilets and showers.
4. For the treatment of patients with hearing disabilities it is important that the staff is trained how to communicate with them, especially when the staff is wearing masks and reading lips is not possible. Therefore it is important to enable communication by writing on a piece of paper, live captioning applications, or using the center for captioning and sign language by the non-profit organization "Mahagaley Shema"
5. For the treatment of the patients with visual disabilities the staff needs to be trained to give visual descriptions, enable the entrance with guide dogs, and provide information in braille, big letter and audio files.
6. For people with cognitive disabilities it is important to give explanations in easy language including what is to be expected and what follows next, the use of tables, supportive and alternative communication.
7. For people with cognitive and mental disabilities it should be allowed to bring someone with them as long as it is medically possible
8. Make sure that the guidelines and regulation that are published to the public by the Ministry of Health are available in different accessible formats for the different disabilities.
9. Make sure that that the different communication channels such as telephone, e-mail, chats etc. will be usable and accessible for people with different disabilities.
It is very important to know the accessibility needs well and to adjust accordingly from the beginning.