This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

sometimes be adjusted. The door should never be wedged open. Fire doors on a circulation route can be held back with an electro-magnetic hold open device or be fully or semi-automated (this is particularly useful where lobby arrangements exist, especially when carrying equipment or samples, or when using a wheelchair or walking aids).

If you occupy an older building, doors may be undersized or, more commonly, comprise a double door set which will be very difficult for a wheelchair user to manage. Replacing a double door set with a leaf and a half set (often referred to as hospital doors) is a worthwhile investment to improve access for everyone. Any new doors should have extended vision panes spanning 500mm to 1,500mm minimum to allow a good view through the door on approach, even for children and wheelchair users (unless there is a significant risk of the glass receiving low level impact from individuals or objects).

Doors should always have some visual contrast from their surroundings. They can be defined by a contrasting door finish and/or a frame contrasting to the wall or door – the quickest solution when not planning a refurbishment or redecoration project is simply to paint the frame surrounding the door or the door leaf itself.

Finishes Good visual contrast between adjacent surfaces is essential for people with visual impairments, but also improves safety for staff who may be moving swiftly between areas whilst carrying or pushing items which obscure their view. The quickest way to check if visual contrast is good enough is to take a black and white photograph to see if items stand out from one another.

Tonally contrasting mats on a kitchen or vanity surface can make small items easier to see, this also applies to a bedside cabinet or over-bed table. Using plain mats on patterned

surfaces such as desks and tables can enable someone with poor vision to identify items that would otherwise be unseen. Likewise, a plain bed cover makes it easier to spot spillage or a small dropped item.

The quickest way to check if visual contrast is good enough is to take a black and white photograph to see if items stand out from one another.

Lighting Even without any vision impairment, the average 60-year-old requires three to five times more light than a 20-year-old, and the lower the light level the more visual contrast is needed to define barriers or objects. There is now a wide range of LED task lamps with daylight quality, which are particularly helpful – these come as lightweight clip on reading lights or mains-powered, battery and rechargeable portable units capable of illuminating a much larger area, ideal for sewing and hobby craft.

Information Signs, menus and other information should always be presented in a larger font size – many people do not wear reading spectacles all the time. Supplementing text with symbols helps people with low vision, people with English as a second language or those with lower literacy skills. A combination of the use of colour and symbols works well, as proven by many safety signs.

Touch Tactile information is often very helpful for people with sight conditions. Tactile scrabble, dominoes and playing cards are available (the RNIB shop has a great range) but it is also possible to adapt your own items. Tactile marker pens (tacti- mark) can be used to create raised

text or lines, and "bump-on" labels can be used in a variety of ways.

Bump-on labels are self-adhesive and available in different colours, shapes and textures. They have a multitude of uses, for example marking favourite settings on oven or washing machine controls, a specific place on a handrail on stairs to warn that the user is reaching the top or bottom, or differentiating between different beauty products such as hairspray versus deodorant.

For Braille users, a Braille dymo label maker is a useful device to add transparent or contrasting strips to doors and products.

A change in flooring underfoot can also be an excellent way of giving wayfinding information – but be careful not to introduce a trip hazard.

Furniture Just as sit-stand workstations are now helping lots of office workers to avoid or minimise the risk of back conditions, so can adjustable height tables and surfaces be helpful in the care home environment. A very tall person may benefit from a raised worktop, but this can be done on a temporary basis with a sturdy box or platform.

Assistive Technology Many tasks can now be made easier by the use of everyday technology. Tablets, for example, often incorporate a camera and can then be used (with a suitable frame to hold it steady) as a magnifier, enabling someone with low vision to read items otherwise not available to them. The ability to zoom and stretch information on a tablet enables people to surf the web and read emails even with failing sight, a significant benefit to keep people occupied and in touch with others even if confined to bed.

- 31 -

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50