When Facing Patient Mobility Issues

It's more likely than ever you'll encounter a “patient of size” and/or one with mobility issues at your practice.

You can reduce the risks associated with assisting and/or mobilizing patients during exams by ensuring the environment is free of hazards and mobility obstacles. 

The benefit of providing good care to patients with mobility issues is that assessment and treatment can improve.

  • The first step is to consider your patient population:
    • Do any of your patients fit these descriptions?
    • Are there particular needs you need to address?
  • Next, walk around your office environment, from the parking lot to the exam rooms. Some areas to consider:
    • Is the parking lot free of barriers that might inhibit mobility? Be sure to check in various seasons due to changing weather conditions.
    • Is it easy to open the door and enter your office?
    • Are there both chairs with and without arms in the waiting room? Armless chairs should have at least 6-8 inches between them.
    • Do you have firm, high sofas?
  • At your reception desk, is the reception area low enough for a wheelchair?
    • Is there a counter surface to complete or place forms?
    • Is the lighting sufficient?
    • Is there space to maneuver a wheelchair?
  • In your exam room:
    • Is there space to maneuver a wheelchair?
    • Is the exam table adjustable?
    • Are large-sized gowns available?
    • Is a sturdy step stool available to get onto the examination tables?
    • Are large blood pressure cuffs available?
    • Do scales have a capacity of more than 300 pounds?
    • Are scales located in a private area?
  • Documentation:
    • Have you documented the position of the patient during your examination (e.g., the patient was examined in the sitting position)? 
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