Expanding the Definition of an Accessible Room

From a community member:

Why is it that when you think of a disability everyone thinks of roll-in shower and ramps? What about beds that are not platform, so that you are able to roll a Hoyer lift under?

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We stayed in a motel in Rocky Mount, NC one night last week while on a road trip. My husband is a disabled vet who’s been in a Wheelchair over 50 years. The wheelchair accessible room was great as far as the bathroom, shower & sink. The mattress was so tall he couldn’t transfer to the bed. It was like somebody put a lot of thought into the room & never thought about the height of the mattress. We never use a Hoyer lift & who travels with one anyway?!?

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The clearance under the bed is an issue every time we travel. I can ONLY transfer my husband to a bed with a lift as his left side is paralyzed and his right side is too weak to stand on. Every hotel we’ve stayed in over the past two years has had a platform bed. When I inquire ahead of time about an accessible room, not one desk clerk or manager has offered a bedding solution. I literally end up tipping over the Hoyer lift -husband in it - onto the side of the bed, then struggling to get him in a position to sleep. One member on this forum takes a twin-double frame with him when he and his wife travel and borrow a mattress from the hotel. We adapt or stay home!

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my thinking is those who make the decision on accessible rooms are neither handicapped or don’t take recommendations from those who are. Transfer to a bed is a BIG deal for those of us in this community.

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My son is paralyzed from the shoulders down and we travel quite often, since he plays for a traveling Powersoccer team. It is disheartening to try and find a room that does not have a platform bed. The only way that I am able to lift my son from his chair is with a hoyer, and yes I carry one with me, anytime we travel. I gotten use to requesting a suite with a sofa bed or a room with a roller away bed, which is quite difficult to find. If we are unable to find what we need, then he has to sleep in his chair, which makes it impossible to provide his care, not to mention the risk of pressure sores.

We are determined not to give up.

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Agreed. Huge problem!!! Until I encountered it, I didn’t even consider it. Then I went to put my daughter on the bed…BIG PROBLEM!!

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I’ve been in the construction industry for 20 years, installing life safety equipment. When it comes to ADA compliance, I think the architects and interior designers are looking at code minimum and not logistical realities.

My wife has been in a wheelchair for 8 years.

Being directly affected, my opinion on ADA code has expanded to realize there truly is not enough details to fully encompass all physical disability transfer height standards. Turning radiuses, door/hall width, countertop height, incline pitch, hearing impaired strobes, visual impaired braille, area of refuge are well detailed for minimums. This American Disability Act needs to be expanded on to standardize for furniture builders to synchronize with mobility manufacturers to enable convenient transfers in ADA rooms. ADA certainly has made life in American territory more manageable and has seen some adoption in foreign countries looking to draw in American tourists.

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I am mobile but mobility challenged. I get that some hotel beds are going to be too high to get up into or too low to stand up from, or so soft that it is impossible to roll over in and/or get out of. What makes it real annoying is that there is no way of knowing what you will get until you unlock the door and go into the room. The reservation clerks don’t know. The hotel front desk staff has no idea.

It would help if there were some basic questions about the beds that the hotel front desk would have to have the answers available for, such as platform or not, soft or firm mattress, and high, medium or low top. It’s not like they are going to change the bed for you after you check in (though one time when I complained about a too-soft mattress housekeeping actually did bring in a sheet of plywood that they slipped under the mattress, which helped. It was obviously kept in their back room for such purposes, IF you know to ask for it.)

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In the three years since we started Travelability I’ve learned that the ADA provides a baseline infrastructure for accessibility, but there’s no ADA for information and the law was written for the median. We are trying to work through tourism boards to educate hotels about the need to provide details about the a ADA rooms so you don’t have to become detectives every time you book.

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My wife had two strokes, resulting in her left side paralyzed and her right side very weak. I do a 90 degree transfer from chair to bed. This situation very challenging based on her weight. Reviewed our situation with our physical therapist since we were doing a road trip from Wisconsin to Nevada. Therapist taught me how to use a bedsheet to make a complete transfer from chair to bed and bed to chair in incremental steps. Takes a little while, but it works.

Also, sometimes my wife prefers to sleep in her power chair. She sometimes suffers from vertigo when laying in bed. Ended up purchasing a special chair cushion that make her very comfortable while sleeping in her power chair . I just wanted to share what we do.

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What kind of cushion was that if you don’t mind me asking?

Thanks Katie

Found cushion on Amazon. DMI comfort wheelchair cushion.and pad.

I am a retired nurse. I was working when the ADA went into effect in 1990 and I started advocating for my patients needs with the backing of the law! But I will tell you, architects, designers etc DON’T LISTEN! And yes, the may follow the letter of the law but they DON’T THINK! So issues like platform beds, they tell me they dont know, don’t care, not my problem! I still fight with places like Target for the bathroom hinges not to be too strong! :woman_facepalming:
I’ve now been disabled by Lyme since 2000 and deal with issues like, locked handicapped doors, no handicapped bathroom stalls, access issues with my mobility dog! 22 damn years and still!! We need the Nat association for Handicapped to be as proactive as the AARP is. Big voices for big pushes and big education!

Hi @travelingwithparis! Emily here with accessibleGO. Thank you for your work in advocating! So important to have advocacy at all levels and in day to day situations. The ADA did a ton for disabled people, but we still have far to go.