A new online training course aimed at improving access to mainstream health services for people with disabilities in regional, rural and remote Queensland was officially launched last week during an online health webinar as part of International Day for People with Disabilities and Disability Action Week.
The two-hour online training course, Access for All, has been created by CheckUP, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to better health for people and communities who need it most, and is part of a three-year project funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
Acting Chief Executive Officer of CheckUP, Karen Hale-Robertson says the team have worked collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders in creating the Access For All course to ensure
the content was relevant and outcome focused.
“We consulted with consumers with a lived experience of disability, service providers, health professionals, disability networks and advocates to identify the common issues and challenges experienced by people with disabilities and how we can build a more accessible and inclusive health care system,” explains Ms Hale Robertson.
“It has become very apparent that while most health professionals and clinics are well meaning, many are inadvertently creating barriers or making assumptions about a person’s disability, which can lead to treatment errors or a reluctance for patients to seek treatment.
“It starts with education, and Access for All is an introductory step for health care providers to ensure they are aware of their obligations under the Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Acts to deliver culturally and clinically appropriate care, whilst providing inclusive, accessible health services for people with disabilities.”
Hosted by CheckUP, last week’s online webinar saw health professionals and disability advocates alike come together to discuss accessibility issues within the health sector and highlight ways the medical fraternity can break down barriers for people with disabilities to improve their access to mainstream healthcare.
Attendees heard from a dynamic panel of speakers, including Australian Paralympic Medalist and Clinical Social Worker, Karni Liddell, who recalled her personal experiences with accessibility and called on the medical community to ensure they are listening to people with disabilities and are not making assumptions based on face-value.
“When I told my parents, Terri and Jeff, that I wanted to become a Paralympic swimmer back in the 80s when the Paralympics wasn’t a thing, they nodded their heads at my dream and
took me to the pool whenever I wanted,” says Ms Liddell.
“You (the medical community) could be someone’s ‘head nodder’. I desperately need the medical community to know that if you give us a chance to turn off our fight mode and be our head nodders, you could be the Terri and Jeff in someone’s life.”
With health care for people with disabilities in the spotlight at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, Lawyer and Disability Advocate Carol Taylor from Taylor Law & Conveyancing highlighted during the launch, health providers legislative obligations to provide accessible and inclusive care to people with disabilities and the legal ramifications that can arise from discrimination.
“As health service providers, you can look to the law to provide guidance as to what appropriate measures you can take and you can put in place to better serve the disability community,” explains Ms Taylor.
“Essentially, people with disability have a legal right (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) to the highest standard of health care without discrimination on the basis of
disability, and providers should take all appropriate measures to ensure access to healthcare for people with disability.
“Service providers that don’t make themselves familiar with the rights of people with disability may find themselves falling foul of the law.”
CheckUP is now preparing to launch their new Access for All online training App in early 2022, which uses 3D simulation training that will allow health professionals and health administrators to improve their knowledge of disability accessibility and practise communication skills to increase access to health services.
To watch the full online health webinar and panel discussion, head on over to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKxezFv4XLs. You can find more information on the Access for All training course via https://accessforall-checkup.talentlms.com
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