Disabled persons are differently-abled persons. We have now got used to such lofty definition but in reality, it never puts a balmy touch on their plight. It is not only about the kind of discriminatory treatment they face in their personal, professional and overall social life but the trouble has also to do with the barriers they face in maintaining good health. As per several studies, disabled persons are more likely, if compared to general populations, to experience the followings:
- Poorer overall health
- Less access to proper healthcare
- Getting used to an unhealthy lifestyle such as physical inactivity, smoking, and heavy drinking
Individuals with disabilities are usually more vulnerable to several kinds of problems that negatively affect their health as well as their quality of life. The good news is these problems can be prevented. Secondary conditions including obesity, depression, pain, and fatigue can be symptoms of having or developing a disabling condition.
Both secondary conditions and health disparities can result from more than a single factor, either working individually or in combination with others, including poor access to healthcare facilities and/or equipment, transportation difficulties, higher poverty rates among disabled individuals and unfortunately health professionals’ inadequate knowledge about particular differences among disabled individuals.
Where Does ‘Accessibility’ Apply?
Accessibility refers to both physical and communication access. For example, healthcare professionals should be aware of how to communicate with patients having a variety of disabilities, including individuals having vision, speech or intellectual disability or who are deaf and/or dumb. Healthcare providers should make sure that accessible and most-needed medical equipment is available to disabled people.
Furthermore, healthcare providers should have a plan for additional time if it is required for certain health check-up and medical tests. This is because, some medical examinations may take longer than others, for different reasons, in the normal course of medical practice.
Roles and Responsibilities of Healthcare Providers
To ensure and improve the health and welfare of the disabled persons, all healthcare professionals should:
- Provide each patient, even those with disabilities, with any kind of information required to live a long and super healthy life.
- Communicate directly and clearly with the patients. If any patient fails to understand the healthcare professional’s query, the service provider should repeat the question, use other words or try out other ways to convey the information.
- Pay heed and answer to the patient’s health-related query and concerns.
- Provide each patient with the required information to treat or prevent a health hazard even if the patient knows nothing about it or does not ask for it. It is their responsibility, as healthcare providers, to update the patients’ knowledge.
- Take the time required to meet the healthcare needs and expectation of the patients.
When to Hire a Lawyer
Every individual with any type of disability is entitled to the same rights enjoyed by individuals with no disability when it comes to having access to healthcare service and associated factors that ensure good health for all. If a disabled person suffers any hazard in accessing healthcare service and anything else that could have jeopardized his or her health condition or has caused severe harm or death, the person or his or her loved one has the right to sue the allegedly responsible party.
But before filing a lawsuit, it makes sense to talk to a Cigna disability attorney to decide the future course of action.