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Medical Room Clear Space and Turning Space

In order for accessible medical equipment to be usable by an individual who uses a wheelchair or other mobility device, that individual must be able to approach the exam table and any other elements of the room to which patients have access. The exam table must have sufficient clear floor space next to it so that an individual using a wheelchair can approach the side of the table for transfer onto it. The minimum amount of space required is 30 inches by 48 inches. Clear floor space is needed along at least one side of an adjustable height examination table.  Because some individuals can only transfer from the right or left side, providing clear floor space on both sides of the table allows one accessible table to serve both right and left side transfers.   See the diagram below for a representation.

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Medical Exam Table with Clear Space on Both Sides

The room should also have enough turning space for an individual using a wheelchair to make a 180-degree turn, using a clear space of 60 inches in diameter or a 60 inch by 60 inch T-shaped space. See the diagram below for an accessible turning space.  Movable chairs and other objects, such as waste baskets, should be moved aside if necessary to provide sufficient clear floor space for maneuvering and turning.

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Turning Space in a Medical Exam Room

When a portable patient lift or stretcher is to be used, additional clear floor space will be needed to maneuver the lift or stretcher and for staff members to assist with the transfer.  See the diagram below.

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Portable Medical Lift Device with Staff Assisting

Ceiling-mounted lifts, on the other hand, do not require the additional maneuvering clear floor space because these lifts are mounted overhead.