Improve the Health and Wellness of People with Disabilities
Health Care Provider:
You can do a lot to improve the health and wellness of people with disabilities. For instance, you can:
- Address the medical needs of the whole person, not just the disability.
- Be as attentive to concerns of pain, depression, job pressures, smoking and alcohol use as you are with all patients.
- Be aware and patient of the extra time it might take a person with a disability to speak or act.
- Recommend and monitor clinical preventive services as closely as will other patients.
- Know that the facilities you refer patients to for preventive screenings (e.g., mammograms) are accessible.
- Ensure that your facility is fully accessible (e.g., parking, exam tables, restrooms, etc).
- Ask the person with a disability if he or she needs any help. Do not assume help is needed.
- Understand that not having access to work, school, health care, or fun things to do can cause more problems than a disability itself.
- Seek training on disability competence for health professionals.
Person with Disability:
Make Sure You are Getting the Best Possible Healthcare
There are also many things you can do to make sure you are getting the best possible health care:
- Know your body, how you feel when you’re well and when you’re not.
- Get regular preventive screenings (e.g., mammograms, prostate, colorectal)
- Talk openly with your health care professional about your concerns.
- Find out who the best health care professionals are in your area to meet your needs.
- Check to be sure you can get into your health care professional’s office and that he or she has the staff and equipment you need.
- Think through your concerns before you visit your health care professional.
- Bring your health records with you.
- Take a friend with you, if you’re concerned you might not remember all your questions and all the answers.
- Get it in writing. Write down, or have someone write down for you, what is said by the health care professional.
- Ask for help finding more information through materials like brochures, or at specific Web pages on the Internet.