Access all areas: the importance of disabled access to your facility

The World Health Organisation states that approximately 15 per cent of the world's population have a disability of some form. People with disabilities often have less access to healthcare services and many suffer as a result. It's important to allow easy access to your medical facilities for patients of all types, but particularly for those who are limited by physical barriers.

What are the requirements?

Disability access to premises is outlined in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), in which it's required that unencumbered access is provided to premises (in this case, premises refers to any building or structure) that the public are allowed to use.

This means you'll need to allow disability access to your facilities that is no less "convenient, dignified or safe" than the access that's provided to other members of the public, according to the guidelines in the DDA. These apply to both existing and new buildings, so regardless of whether your project is a new build or an overhaul of an existing site, the requirements must be met all the same.

Wheelchair access in new healthcare build.Ramp access is crucial to your new facility.

What are the design considerations?

There are a number of considerations to take into account to ensure the design of your new practice provides suitable access for patients with disabilities. This means you'll need to think about the following:

  • Ramp access, with appropriate incline gradients
  • Doorways that aren't too narrow
  • Internal steps
  • Adequate bathroom facilities
  • A number of disability carparks with sufficient clearance
  • Relevant signage
  • Specialised equipment (for example, height adjustable examination tables)

Nobody enjoys hitting a barrier between where they are and where they need to be. Ensuring easy access is a great way to provide a stress-free and welcoming environment for patients with disabilities.

Space For Health is here to help

You may not have considered these elements, and this might in turn affect the way you're picturing your new medical practice. The healthcare architects at Space For Health have decades of experience in designing medical facilities that are both visually appealing and highly functional.

We know every requirement for your new site, and we're experts in developing designs that incorporate your your unique needs along with the high standards of the Building Code of Australia. Providing access to every possible patient or client is a headache you don't have to deal with – leave it to the experts.

For more information about designing essential access ways to your facility, or to kick start your new project, contact Space For Health today.