Accessible Medical Exam Rooms
An accessible medical examination room has features that make it possible for patients with mobility disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, to receive appropriate medical care. These features allow the patient to enter the examination room, move around in the room, and utilize the accessible equipment provided. The features that make this possible are:
An accessible route to and through the room.
An entry door with adequate clear width, maneuvering clearance, and accessible hardware.
Appropriate models and placement of accessible examination equipment.
Adequate clear floor space inside the room for side transfers and use of lift equipment.
See the diagram below for a representation of the four features. Item 1 is a clear floor space, 30 inches X 48 inches minimum in size. This clear space should be adjacent to the exam table and adjoining an accessible route to make it possible to do a side transfer. Item 2 is an adjustable height accessible exam table that lowers for transfers. Item 3 is a space between the exam table and wall that allows staff to assist with patient transfers and positioning. Item 4 is floor space needed beside and at the end of the exam table that will vary depending on the method of patient transfer and lift equipment size. Item 5 is the accessible route that connects to other accessible public and common use spaces. Item 6 is the accessible entry door that has 32 inch minimum clear opening width when the door is open 90 degrees. Item 7 is the maneuvering clearance needed at the door to the room. Maneuvering clearance varies depending on the type of door installation and which way the door opens.
All buildings, including those built before the ADA went into effect, are subject to accessibility requirements for existing facilities. Under Title III, existing facilities are required to remove architectural barriers where such removal is readily achievable. Barrier removal is readily achievable when it is easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. If barrier removal is not readily achievable, the entity must make its services available through alternative methods, if those methods are readily achievable. Under Title II, a public entity must ensure that its program as a whole is accessible; this may entail removing architectural barriers or adopting alternative measures, such as relocating activities to accessible locations. This same program accessiblity standard applies under Section 504.
New and altered examination rooms must meet requirements of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Accessible examination rooms may need additional floor space to accommodate transfers and for certain equipment, such as a floor lift.
The number of examination rooms with accessible equipment needed by the medical care provider depends on the size of the practice, the patient population, and other factors. One such exam room may be sufficient in a small doctor's practice, while more will likely be necessary in a large clinic.