THE EDITOR, Sir:
In The Gleaner of Wednesday, February 27, 2013, there was a report on the welcome installation of support rails (grab bars) in the bathrooms at the Golden Age Home for seniors to facilitate the physically challenged. This applies particularly to those in wheelchairs or dependent on walkers.
While this is particularly important in institutions whose clientele include significant numbers of disabled persons, there is need for a greater awareness throughout the society for adequate provisions of this kind in places that may serve the
It is now common to find in many places that cater to members of the public signs indicating wheelchair access to bathrooms and the provision of special cubicles that can allow access to persons in wheelchairs or using walkers.
However, what is most often missing are support rails that assist the user to transfer to and from the toilet. I have had personal experience of this while on a visit to a well-known hotel when I had to be assisted by other persons (who were, incidentally, strangers and visitors to the island), having fallen when trying to negotiate the transfer on my own.
I urge the Jamaica Combined Disabilities Association and any other bodies that may assume responsibility for advocating on behalf of the disabled/physically challenged the uniform provision of these essential aids to their safety.
Indeed, the most effective way for the necessary steps to be taken would be for the relevant government agency in the Ministry of Health to make it mandatory for places which offer bathroom facilities to members of the public to have these measures in place. Preferably, 2'x2' length rails in the special cubicle is hardly a major outlay to ensure protection to those who need it.