Disabled Tick for Hospital



17TH November 2009

Capital & Coast District Health Board is putting a lot of effort into ensuring that disabled people are well cared for at the new Wellington Regional Hospital.

Six members of the Kapiti Disability Reference Group (DRG) have just been shown through high-profile parts of the hospital and have been impressed by the planning and layout of the hospital.

“Some of the group left comments with the organisers, particularly about parking for vehicles with mobility cards — we felt there should be more mobility car parks — and about the need for good signage for visually-impaired patients and visitors,” says Jim Webber, who is chair of the Kapiti Disability Group.

Areas visited included Accident and Emergency; the new Medical Assessment and Planning Unit (MAPU), which is reducing emergency waiting times; radiology; and the Clinical Measuring Unit where cardiology, neurology, respiratory and immunology testing takes place.

The Health Board provided a sign language interpreter for one of the DRG members and the group was guided by Paul Gibson, Senior Disabilities Advisor, and Maurice Priestley, who advises the Board on inclusion and community engagement.

Twenty people with disabilities from the greater Wellington region also visited the hospital recently in a “Wayfinding” exercise.

Each of them was given a mock appointment to keep.

Then they met in a workshop session and reported on any problems they encountered in getting to the hospital, in parking, or in finding the way to their appointments and the level of help they experienced along the way.

The host for the project was Luke Worth, the DHB’s Director of Change, assisted by Paul Gibson and Maurice Priestley.

Jim Webber, who took part in both visits, says it is clear that while the new hospital is still in a process of change from old to new, the District Health Board is determined to consult widely and get as many aspects of the hospital as right as possible.

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