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7 common health care barriers for those with disabilities

Dealing with barriers and obstacles is something people with disabilities must face every day. While it may be a simple thing to break down some physical barriers, such as curbs, doorways, and narrow aisles, others are more complicated. When it comes to receiving health care, you may find your disability creating obstacles that make it difficult for you to receive the attention and treatment you need. 

Medical equipment, such as mammography machines, examination tables and even scales may be difficult or impossible for someone to use if they are in a wheelchair. However, these hinderances often go far beyond the physical limitations, and you may be among the many who face barriers even though your disability does not confine you to a wheelchair. 

Inclusion is not always a given 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges that your disability may be creating complications for you, and the irony is that those complications may hinder your ability to obtain the medical care you need. In addition to physical limitations, you may be dealing with any of the following barriers: 

  • Hearing, speech or cognitive disabilities may make it difficult for you to communicate with your health care provider or understand written instructions you may receive. 
  • If your disability prevents you from driving, you may have challenges finding reliable, convenient or affordable transportation to your medical appointments. 
  • You may face negative attitudes from health care workers who may be unable to see past your disability to provide care you need for other issues. 
  • Some health care professionals may have unfortunate prejudices and wrong assumptions against those who live with disabilities. 
  • Your condition may make it difficult to find convenient appointments or providers who can dedicate sufficient time to your needs. 
  • Many with disabilities have social barriers, such as an incomplete education, unemployment or experience with family violence that impedes them from receiving quality care.  

You may be among those in Minnesota with a disability for whom policies and regulations make it difficult for you to access services you need or the rights you deserve. For example, you may have difficulty obtaining the financial assistance you need, such as through the Social Security Administration’s Disability Insurance program. Eligibility for benefits is rigid, and the process of applying for benefits can be intense and challenging. While national policies and legislation offer protections, it may be necessary to seek individual assistance when fighting for those protections. 

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