Considerations for Individuals with Disabilities

Lesson 12 of 15

Consider these questions and tips while addressing patients with disabilities:

Does the patient have hearing concerns?

For hearing loss, consider these tips:

• Have them use headphones or a headset

• Confirm participants are wearing their hearing aids or amplification device if they have one

• Use video whenever possible to allow lip reading and provide visual clues like gestures

• Use captioning, when available, for video-based encounters

For deaf patients, consider these tips:

• If you have an ASL interpreter available, can they be “pinned” so that the interpretation can always be viewed?

• If the person who is deaf wants to contribute to the conversation, how should they get your attention? Through the raising hands option or should they turn on their microphone and clap so the interpreter can let you know they have something to say? How do they access these feature in the program you are using?

Does the patient have visibility concerns?

• Be aware of your background. There needs to be contrast between you and your background. Blurring the background seems like a good option but it can also make things fuzzy for a person who is blind or vision impaired.

• A busy shirt can make things further difficult to see. More solid options are helpful and make sure they contrast with your skin color.

• If you demonstrate something, or if, like me, you use your hands to emphasize points, it can really help the individual read your body language.

• Make sure your lighting is bright enough that the participant can see your face and not shadows.

Does the patient have mobility concerns?

• People with mobility concerns may use assistive (adaptive) device equipment, require assistive technology services, and/or require support from a caregiver.

• Be sure the patient is comfortable and able to use a mouse/keyboard or mobile device. Accommodations can be made using alternative keyboards (for example one handed keyboards), alternative mice (example trackballs, touchpads, joysticks, etc), a mouth or headstick to control the keyboard or a touch screen device. A stand can be used for mobile devices so that the patient is not required to hold the device in their hands.

• Taking patient ergonomics into account may help with limited mobility concerns. For example, patients that use wheelchairs may need to place devices on a table that has been adjusted to fit their chair or a wheelchair tray.