After the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect, a survey of 714 doctors in outpatient practices published in the journal Health Affairs revealed that many physicians are not equipped with good knowledge of how The Law works for patients with disabilities. According to the ADA, a third of doctors know little-to-nothing about these specific requirements when caring for disabled people.
Fundamental barriers that exist in the way we care for these people are, as noted by study author Dr. Lisa I. Lezzoni of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, difficulties with physical examinations, weight measurements, and effective communication between physician and patient. This is troubling in terms of providing efficient care to those who need it most. In fact, the ADA concluded that 68% of physicians are concerned with their service and fear consequences. Dr. Lezzoni has also explained in a hospital news release that "To achieve more equitable care and social justice for patients with disability, considerable improvements are needed to educate physicians about making health care delivery systems more accessible and accommodating”.
Eric G. Campbell, a survey scientist at the University of Colorado and a senior author of the study adds that “Every practicing physician can expect to see increasing numbers of people with disability, and they need to know how to accommodate them” - clearly indicating that change is desperately needed to address problems arising an inability to adequately care for those with disabilities.
In other words, there are serious gaps in how physicians can treat all of their patients - due to a lack of understanding of what the patients basically need. Much work must be done in order to individualize the needs of each disabled person and to design the precise treatment and goals that can be attained. Accessible care should be provided for anyone who is in need of it. Evidently, there is so much to be done for disabled people in assuring that they receive equal care - even more so when we remember that they comprise 25% of the population!
Every practicing physician can expect to see increasing numbers of people with disability, and they need to know how to accommodate them.