Our patients are the reason we got into medicine. Thus, it only makes sense that we take actions to provide the best care we can to them! When caring for individuals with disabilities, this is no different. However, there may be additional steps to ensure they are receiving the best possible care we can provide them. Here, you will find material that will help you as you navigate to limit their addition barriers to receiving equitable healthcare and maintain a strong patient and provider relationship.
Customized Care Communication Cards (4C) is a tool that aims to optimize the quality, continuity, and communication for healthcare encounters. The 4C allows you to create a personalized card that can be given to health care providers at the beginning of each visit to make sure they are aware of you or your loved one's needs to ensure quality care. The card features sections for contact information, In-Office Communication Strategies, and At-Home Care Strategies providing a wealth of information to the provider. Distribute these to your patients and ask them to bring their cards to all appointments.
Individuals with disabilities are at higher risk than the rest of the population for obesity and high blood pressure. Based out of Kentucky, the Community Health Education & Exercise Resources (CHEER) focuses on enhancing and supplementing health promotion strategies for inclusions. As health care providers for patients with both disabilities and obesity, we should not only help manage the disability, but also encourage the patients to reduce their weight. This resource includes the HealthMatters Kentucky Master Lesson Plan, which provides a curriculum for Trainers on inclusive physical activities and nutritional education.
The health and wellness initiative at the Human Development Institute of Kentucky raises awareness of health disparities, while helping people with disabilities and their support networks take charge of their health. We provide resources via lessons, videos, activities, and tips on running effective health promotion programming for people with varying abilities, as well as updates on current statewide health initiatives and ways to get involved.
An ABC Chart is a direct observation tool that can be used to collect information about the events that are occurring within an individual's environment. "A" refers to the antecedent, or the event or activity that immediately precedes a behavior. The "B" refers to observed behavior. "C" refers to the consequence, or the event that immediately follows a response. Providing these to your patients' caregivers can help them clue into why a certain behavior may occur. With this information, it may foster your ability to better interact with the patient by understanding the causes and triggers of certain behaviors. While there are many ABC cards and examples, the following specific examples were provided by the University of Kansas.
While the care you provide is a major aspect of the patient's healthcare experience, there are other components. One in particular is the accessibility of your office. While most practices are ADA certified, they still lack basic amenities that allow for a fully accessible practice for individuals with all types of disabilities. Some of these include automatic doors, a front desk counter that is at appropriate height, and various interpreter services. More unique amenities may be more specific for your practice dependent on the patient population, for example a wheel chair scale for providers who have a large population with mobility impairments. While these all may improve the accessibility of your practice, they come at a cost. Below are a few areas that can help you attain funds for such projects!
Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program - This program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a primarily rural area, and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings.
Wisconsin Office of Rural Health - The original mission of the Office was to address shortages of health services in rural Wisconsin by developing rural clinical sites, using University resources. During the first 18 months of operation, the Office was involved in a variety of activities to identify areas of shortage, organize programs to address the unique requirements of each area, and enlist University resources to implement the programs. They now provide grants to expand accessibility to healthcare for rural areas and diverse populations across all states.
Lastly, in the bottom section of educational resources, we list various toolkits that are composed of other materials that providers can use to enhance their relationship with their patients.