Each month I will be responding to a question; chosen from a pool of some of
the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and
continue to be asked.
This month, I’d like to answer the following question:
How can doctors offices be made more accessible?
By Donna J. Jodhan
Believe it or not, this is one of the places that I always hope would be
accessible for a blind person and I am extremely lucky that my family
physician’s office is very accessible to me. Now, I am just not talking
about access to the building itself, I am talking about the office within
the building. Chances are that the doctor themselves does not really have
too much control over access to the building in which their office is
located but I do believe that they can do quite a bit to make their own
office accessible to a blind person.
If they do indeed have control over making it possible for some
accessibility features outside of their office, then here are my tips:
Place Braille and raised large print labels on the buttons of their
Make sure that their elevators are well lit.
Take the time to ensure that the doors to their elevators are very
Continuing on: Make sure that the door to their office is painted in a
bright and distinguishable color.
Ensure that their office is well lit.
Use brightly colored carpeting in the office if needed.
Take the time to ensure that floors are also brightly colored.
Make it possible for a blind person to be able to find the receptionist’s
counter with as little difficulty as possible. That is, without having to
navigate through chairs and tables.
Arrange chairs in such a manner so as to enable a blind person to find a
seat with as little difficulty after they have finished checking in at the
Ensure that doors leading to patient rooms are brightly colored and that the
rooms are well lit.
Finally, some important training for staff. It is really important for
staff to know how to guide a blind patient and this includes the doctor as
well. I have to tell you that in so many instances, doctors do not seem
sure as to how to provide guidance to a blind patient. Their guiding
techniques are often very poor.
I’ll tell you too that my family doctor is one of the best ones when it
comes to guiding a blind patient and her staff is more than well trained.
Her name is DR Dani Manis and she is a family physician practicing in North
So there you have it; some useful tips on accessibility for a doctor’s