with disabilities , unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the services .
Some ADA requirements are not easily implemented in the real world , so there is flexibility . For example , not every medical diagnostic machine has to be accessible so long as there are enough accessible machines to serve persons with disabilities .
The ADA requires private businesses to make changes in most older buildings that are “ readily achievable ” to make those buildings and services accessible and usable by persons with disabilities . This means they are to make any and all changes that are easily accomplishable and can be made without much difficulty or expense . For instance , adding a wall or an elevator is not readily achievable . Restriping a parking lot to add accessible spaces is .
Can medical providers refuse to treat you because the office is not accessible or there is no accessible medical equipment ?
Can you be required to bring someone with you to help with transferring or during the exam ?
No . You can choose to bring someone , but you cannot be told to bring someone to help . Providers can ask you if you need help and , if so , what is the best way to help . But they must use a patient lift or have trained staff available to assist you if needed . This assistance may include helping you to dress or undress , transfer to and from an exam table or other equipment . If needed , providers must also have staff to stay with you to help maintain balance and positioning .
What might you do if you are denied medical service , the office is not accessible , or there is no accessible medical equipment ?
The quickest and easiest way to improve access is to handle things yourself . First , ask to speak to the person in charge . This may be the doctor or office manager . Be polite but clear in telling that person what the barriers are and request that the barriers be removed .
Many medical providers do not own the facility and are only leasing it . They may not know that both owners and tenants are equally covered by the ADA . You can tell the provider that they both have a responsibility for complying with ADA requirements .
Second , get the providers address or email . You should follow-up in writing to check on progress . Be sure everything is dated .
Third , be mindful that some barriers may take longer than others to be removed . Allow a reasonable amount of time for the barriers to be removed .
Finally , if all reasonable efforts to make the services accessible have been unsuccessful , you can file a complaint .
• You may also obtain the services of a private attorney and file a complaint in federal court .
Note : This article was written by the editor and Graham Sisson , JD , Executive Director , Alabama Governor ’ s Office on Disability and the State ’ s ADA Coordinator and Assistant Attorney General with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services .
Questions and Answers : Depression after Spinal Cord Injury
How common is depression after SCI ? There is a common belief that everyone must get depressed after spinal cord injury ( SCI ). After all , SCI is one of the most life-changing events that can happen .
It is normal to have days when you feel “ down ” or “ bad ” after SCI , but most people adjust well to life after SCI . Only about 1 out of 4 people become depressed after SCI . And most people who do become depressed have a history of depression before their injury . This means their depression is not likely caused by their injury . It is likely due to some other reason .
How are sadness and depression different ?
It can be hard to tell the difference between feelings of sadness and depression because they often begin much the same and are often thought of as the same , especially after SCI . In fact , it is common to hear someone say , “ I ’ m depressed ,” when they are actually sad .
There are two key differences between sadness and depression . Sadness is a short-term feeling that typically lasts no longer than a few weeks . Sadness lasting longer than that may be a sign of depression . Another difference between sadness and depression is that with sadness , you can still do and enjoy things you find important in your life . People who are depressed often do not do or care about things they normally enjoy .
What do I do if I think I am depressed ?
It is important to know that depression is a treatable medical condition . Always contact your healthcare professional for advice . Learn more by reading Depression and Spinal Cord Injury