2018, nearly 2019 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. The move toward a more accessible world for people with disabilities has made some solid progress. Public buildings are far from perfect, but miles from when the ADA was first enacted. If you aren’t familiar with the ADA, a simple explanation is that the ADA provides guidelines meant to deliver standardization for places of public use. Specific standards such as how high light switches should be placed, not just where grab bars should be placed; but how thick the bar should be and it’s distance from the wall, or how many accessible parking spaces should be painted outside along with the best approach to use. No, not all of these will have a major impact on usage, but surely the primary function of the business should be accessible if the builders followed the law and checked the guidelines of the ADA.
If the purpose of the ADA is to provide civil rights and make basic functions of an establishment as accessible as possible, then why are most hotel beds so high off the floor?!? ADA suggests 20-23 inches from the floor to the top of the mattress. I think I have encountered this same bed issue in nearly every hotel I’ve stayed since becoming paralyzed in 2005. The thing is, I expect not to be able to get on the bed easily in any hotel room. Even wheelchair accessible rooms that have a roll-in shower. And that is not alright. I know “accessible” will never be truly accessible for all, but maybe following the law and standards that have been around since 1990 would be a good place to start. They aren’t hard to find www.ada.gov.
Unless I’m mistaken, it seems as though the height of a bed is pretty important to the overall function of a hotel. What good is getting an “accessible” room even equipped with a roll-in shower when the user can’t get on the bed? A MAIN FUNCTION OF A HOTEL! Especially in a new hotel. This one I’m referring to was built within the last year, and is a national chain. They should know by now what is ADA acceptable and what is not up to the code.
A new issue I encountered was as a result of the business trying to be more “Green”. While good intentioned, made it difficult for me without having finger dexterity like a “typical” person. This new feature worked the lights. Once inside the hotel room, the occupant is supposed to slide a door key inside this slot and leave it there and the lights in the room will work as normal. Remove the key, and the lights will turn off after a minute or so and flipping lights on no longer works until a key is placed back in the slot by the door. So naturally what happens when I try to go to the bathroom at night? I went to put my key in the slot by the front door, because bathroom light won’t turn on without it in there, and dropped the key to the floor. Also note that the slot is not at a low and convenient location but above the light switches. As a result I ended up using my phone’s flashlight and the TV as my only light sources. Hindsight Tip: Leave the key there over night and my incident would've been avoided . I applaud the initiative to try and be “Greener” or more “Accessible”, but seems like a little more fore thought and input from some of the people the changes would impact could have prevented this.
*The hotel bed I needed to raise my power chair up to transfer
*The card key slot above the light switches and hotel key I dropped
*Close up of card slot above light switch
*Great roll-in shower, but don't think a seated person on the bench0 can reach the water controls or the soap dispensers
*Room thermostat placed in hard to reach spot
Different hotel, accessible room, same issue with the bed and Temperature control