DASH has worked with Jefferson Healthcare to improve accessibility for many years. In 2010 our focus turned to working systematically on the obstacles patients encountered on Sheridan Street and the Jefferson Healthcare campus before they could enter the hospital and clinics.
In 2010 DASH worked with the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute on the application for a Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) Grant for Sheridan Street alongside the hospital. We stayed on top of that project through 2013, providing much input to the city on all aspects of the project that are important for people with disabilities. This was the first stage of improving accessibility at Jefferson Healthcare.
Once Sheridan Street improvements had been made, DASH worked steadily with the hospital on issues of parking, pedestrian access, transit connections, wayfinding, ADA requirements in and around the campus and much more.
The expansion of the campus for the new Emergency and Specialty Services Building was an opportunity for DASH to become a significant stakeholder from the start. At several meetings over the last 2 years with the hospital design and construction team, DASH Board members consulted and made recommendations on every aspect, focusing intently on details that make a difference for people with all kinds of disabilities. We based our recommendations on ADA requirements but also did frequent field evaluations in and around the hospital to ensure that our input covered everything that will make a better experience for anyone needing hospital care.
We brought in local experts with vision and hearing impairments to make sure that we did not miss pointing to changes that are often obvious to people with a vision or hearing problem but can easily be missed.
This has been a major project for DASH covering many years and including just about everything involving physical access to the hospital. Along the way, much work also has been done on how attitudes, training and sensitivity can be as important as the physical access.
DASH’s most recent involvement at the hospital will be the bench that we will gift to Jefferson Healthcare for the main entrance. A comfortable and comforting bench is symbolic of the way we have consistently worked to ensure that all patients will experience the hospital as a place of healing that is accessible to all. We are now raising the funds to pay for the bench and a plaque in honor of our long-term President, Lynn Gressley who was a patient at the hospital. We ask all who care about making our hospital accessible to contribute.