dubhain: (kill -9 ubs)
The Cat Whisperer ([personal profile] dubhain) wrote in [community profile] accessibility_fail2014-11-24 05:55 pm

Dear U.C. Davis Medical Center

This is California. You are a facility belonging to the University of California. Furthermore, you're situated in the capitol of California. Now, given that the rest of the nation considers California to be home of the "Fruits, nuts, and flakes," (and note that I fall into at least one of the first two of those categories, so I'm not disparaging, here,) not to mention a seething hotbed of liberal inclusion, tolerance, and political-correctness (not that this is strictly true — Orange County comes to mind,) one would think that you'd have your act together, when it comes to accessibility.

One would, sadly, be incorrect in that assumption.

Why? Well, let's see: We could talk about your closing-down the parking ramp which gives the most convenient and accessible access to much of the main hospital and turning it into staff-only parking (except, apparently, for one day per week, which isn't actually specified on any of your signage. (The signage, actually, says it's still for patients and visitors, for the most part. Until you try to enter, of course.)) Or we could talk about the the other parking ramp, which has had its handicapped spots moved farther from the doors and replaced with Electric Vehicle charging stations and maintenance vehicles. Because, y'know, fuck the patients with disabilities. You have to encourage the use of electric cars and keep things as convenient for your employees as possible.

Then there's the main hospital, itself: A maze of twisty little passages, all alike. I realize that your hospital, even more than most, apparently, has accreted, rather than been well-planned. However, your hospital is a stone bitch to get through for the people who don't have mobility issues. For those of us who do, it's a freakin' nightmare. "Well, you have to park here, then walk to the entrance there. Then, if it's during regular hours, on a weekday, and you've come in through the main entrance, a volunteer will walk with you part-way to where you're going. [which is frequently at the other end of the complex, down a route with more twists and turns than an Escher print.] Of course, you can come in through one of the closer entrances to the parking ramp, but there won't be a guide. You'll have to follow the signs." The signs. Er...yeah. That's another little matter where you fail spectacularly. I know of at least one hallway junction where there are four signs labeled "East Wing," with arrows. The arrow upon each sign points (and I'm not kidding, here) in a different direction. Is it ahead? Back the way I came? To the Right? Or through that door to the Left and down the stairs? Pick one. Only to go in whichever direction has been chosen, and find a sign with an arrow pointing back the way I came in the first place. (The trick, apparently, is to ignore the signage in that junction, continue straight onward, take the South Elevators, which will arrive in the East Wing. Apparently there are spacial anomalies involved, which would baffle Captain Janeway. And gods know she saw far too many of them in that lousy spin-off.)

Eventually, one hopes, one will arrive at one's destination. Your medical care is, generally speaking, good to excellent. Administratively? Well, your administrative talents rival those of your signage abilities. But hey: Care's the important thing, right?

Unless, of course, one happens to have mobility issues, and is walking forfreakingever down those twisty little passages, all alike. I finally found a way to escape your hospital, by the way: One follows the "Specialty Coffee Kiosk" signs. Apparently they, unlike the signs for, say, the East Wing, aren't designed to be read as a faulty logic puzzle from Alice in Wonderland. Of course, then there's the hike back to the parking ramp, but hey: Exercise is good for people, right? Even when walking for distances is excruciatingly painful. Builds character, and all that.

Seriously, UCD: You're a medical branch of a major state educational institution in the state believed to be the most progressive and accommodating in the entirety of North America. Nonetheless, you fail — and fail spectacularly at that — in so, so many ways. I simply cannot imagine how you can design your medical campus to fail this spectacularly, in so many "WTF?" ways.

Does UCD actually even have any mobility-impaired people on staff? 'Cause y'all need to hire some. Seriously. Preferably in your planning and facilities maintenance departments. Because, y'know, the level of fail in your facilities is approaching critical mass.
lilysea: Serious (Default)

[personal profile] lilysea 2014-11-25 04:56 am (UTC)(link)
Gah. Empathies, this reminds me of my several experiences with the terrible, ****terrible**** accessibility at a hospital in Adelaide - Flinders Medical Centre, a public teaching hospital and medical school,
co-located with Flinders University and Flinders Private Hospital.

There was no way to get from the public car park to the emergency department without a lengthy walk up a steep slope (the public carpark was one one level, and the emergency department was on the level above), and then a long walk across the staff carpark.

And inside the hospital was a massive, poorly sign posted rabbit warren.
jesse_the_k: sign reads "torture chamber unsuitable for wheelchair users" (even more access fail)

[personal profile] jesse_the_k 2014-11-25 11:28 am (UTC)(link)

Medical facilities are the worst. That signage could be the seed for a hell of a horror computer game.
pauraque: bird flying (Default)

[personal profile] pauraque 2014-11-25 02:13 pm (UTC)(link)
This sort of thing seems prevalent in hospitals everywhere I've been. There was one in Massachusetts -- all we wanted to do was go to the cafeteria while I was waiting to be called for my surgery -- and the person at the information desk had the decency to look apologetic as she handed me a printout with these directions (I had to save them for posterity):

Go down the hall bear left at the library. At the end of the hall take a right. Go through the connector. At the end of the connector you will bear to the left again. You are now on the ground floor of the Springfield building. Continue straight down the hall till you come to the old main elevator on your right. Take the elevator to the second floor. When you get off the elevator take a left. Take another quick left go down the hall you will see the sign for the cafeteria.

Looks like a King's Quest walkthrough, doesn't it? (Go under the troll bridge, pick up the blue key...) With a few false starts and backtracks, we did make it, but there was absolutely no way in the world we would have figured it out without the directions, because there were very few signs or maps, and the only ones that existed were inaccurate! When we tried to follow the signs, we got hopelessly lost. We had to ignore them and do what it said on the paper instead. The hospital staff obviously knew this or they wouldn't have printed out a big stack of directions to hand to people. So if they know, why don't they do something? My illnesses don't affect mobility so for me it was only an inconvenience, but not everyone can say the same.
adrian_turtle: stubborn little quilted turtle (Default)

[personal profile] adrian_turtle 2014-11-26 06:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm not sure who is telling all these hospitals that "accessible" only means that "a person can get there in a wheelchair," and has nothing to do with the distances a patient has to walk. I just went to the hospital to get x-rays and consult with an orthopedist about a knee injury...I had been concerned about the short and painful walk from the bus stop to the hospital. I ended up walking about a mile inside the hospital. (My ongoing health problems are preventing me from using crutches, so this injury is even more problematic than it might otherwise be.)
amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)

[personal profile] amadi 2014-11-27 09:45 am (UTC)(link)
The large university medical center local to me has, in some of its hospitals, electric scooters for patients to use to navigate the sprawl of their campuses. They are, however, first come first serve, and each hospital has a princely total of 4 scooters to serve all who need them. You also have to come through the main entrance to get one, which makes sense, except that if you enter from the parking lot (as opposed to using the much more expensive valet parking) that means extra walking to get to the device to keep you from having to do excessive walking. It's sad that Walmarts are more accessible than hospitals.

[personal profile] jazzyjj 2014-11-27 07:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Sounds kinda like at least 1 hospital here in the northern 'burbs of Illinois. This particular hospital used to be affiliated with a well-known university, but they somehow reached a deal with somebody and now they're in a network or something. But anyway, this hospital is huge and for whatever reason not all elevators go to all the floors. All elevators do have Braille and raised print markings on the buttons though, which is good. The other good part is that the staff could not be more friendly and helpful. The medical care is also superb. I know from personal experience. Some of my doctors are on the faculty at this hospital and others within the network. Some of my doctors have offices located in an adjacent building, for seeing patients. This other building apparently isn't quite as big though. I always go with somebody sighted such as my mom.