Hospitals to Become More Handicapped Friendly

Ashkelon Barzilai Hospital (Flash90)
Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital. (Flash90)

Hard to believe, but not all hospitals in Israel are handicapped-friendly – or not friendly enough. Now they will be, after an inter-ministerial committee authored a new list of requirements on Tuesday, requiring that  hospitals comply with regulations that institutions be accessible to all people.

If they haven’t done so already, hospitals will have to install sidewalks and pathways that would enable individuals in wheelchairs to enter buildings without having to climb steps. Special examination rooms, with facilities for handicapped patients – including carpeting, support bars, large changing facilities and showers – need to be set up as well.

At least 10 percent of beds in all departments need to be handicapped-friendly, and the hospital must ensure that there are enough handicapped parking spaces to go around, the rules add. And doorways need to be wide enough to ensure accessibility by wheelchair-bound visitors.

MK Ilan Gileon, chairperson of the committee, said that the government must come up with funds to help hospitals comply with the measures. “Accessibility is a basic need, and a basic right,” he said. “With these rules, we are correcting an absurd situation where individuals who need these institutions the most don’t have access to them.”