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Non-Political Approaches to Improving Accessibility
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Non-Political Approaches to Improving Accessibility

If you pay attention to the news, the future looks bleak in a lot of ways. Current health care proposals in the United States are threatening support for anyone with complicated health issues and/or lack of funds to address those issues. But despite all the steps back that political interests want to take, there are a lot of steps forward being made outside of the political realm. Below are some initiatives and strategies to fight for a more equitable, accessible society.

Community Health Initiatives

Despite a lack of resources for a comprehensive infrastructure supporting people with disabilities, many communities have their own resources available. This spans from local food and prescription delivery services, to programs dedicated to putting more medical professionals like family nurse practitioners in underserved communities

Of course, having to hunt down and obtain vital services through private means leads to people with disabilities being forced to focus on survival rather than living fulfilling lives. This is why it’s important to continue to push local and national representatives to consider the needs of everyone in their communities, rather than just business interests.

Entrepreneurial Innovation

It’s been pointed out by many people that a lot of the problems with our healthcare system come from trying to “fix” a completely broken system. A better approach would be to look at the problem by itself and think of ways to solve it that have nothing to do with current or previous approaches. Government bureaucracy hinders that from becoming a reality, but private entities have that freedom.

As social work professor and innovator Goutham Menon says, “Big solutions come from big ideas.” The best products and services have been created by people looking to fill a specific need of their own and bringing it to others with similar needs. There’s no one more qualified to find solutions to accessibility issues than people who live every day facing those issues. People with disabilities and the people who live and work with them are best equipped to innovate new solutions to societal gaps in accessibility and health coverage.

Personal Knowledge

The internet has made knowing your rights a lot easier. Unfortunately, people in underserved communities are often subject to neglect and abuse by those who are meant to serve them. It’s important for those who rely on caregivers for themselves or loved ones to be able to recognize signs of abuse in nursing homes and assisted living situations.

It can also be useful for people with disabilities to look up medical cases of people with similar conditions, as general doctors may not be familiar with every detail of your condition. Being informed about similar cases can help you stand up to your doctor to demand certain tests or request certain treatment styles. Access to this information makes it harder for those in positions of trust and authority to take advantage of their charges.

Politics may look bleak, but people’s lives and health shouldn’t be a political issue. It’s important to be aware of current events, but don’t let them get you down. If you’re able, do what you can to make your voice heard by your legislators, then turn your focus on the positive initiatives happening in your community.

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons 

How about a hospital bed that can be lower than a standard wheelchair?

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