Courtesy of Versatilt
The Independence Center gifted accessible equipment to dental offices.
The Independence Center announced the names of dental offices it's gifting with accessible equipment to make dentist appointments easier for people with disabilities.
The local nonprofit spent $75,000 from its IC Fund this year on wheelchair lifts, medical masks that allow deaf individuals to read lips, and other tools to improve accessibility at the following offices:
In addition to the free equipment, those businesses will also receive an Americans with Disabilities Act audit and disability competency training for their staff.
This spring, The Independence Center surveyed people
with anxiety, autism, blindness and low vision, deafness, mobility issues, chemical sensitivities and post-traumatic stress disorder about their visits to the dentist.
Over half of the 46 participants said they hadn't received dental care in more than a year, even though all ranked their oral health as "highly important."
Some respondents said they did not have access to effective communication at the dentist, "either because they did not have an American Sign Language interpreter or because while their providers were wearing facial masks, they could not read their lips."
Winning dental practices will get specially designed masks with a clear window so that deaf patients can read staff's lips.
They'll also get Versatilt wheelchair lift devices, which according to the survey report "allow patients to recline safely and comfortably in their manual wheelchairs during dental exams without the risk of hurting their spines."
Last year, the Independence Center used money from the IC Fund to pay for accessible exam tables, lifts and hearing loop devices at medical practices. An online, interactive map
gives locations and information for those offices with accessible equipment.