A wheelchair ramp can be an essential concern for many hospitals, care homes, and other public buildings. It ensures that people who have mobility issues can continue to get in and out of your property without having to struggle with the stress of stairs. However, if you want to make sure that everyone who comes to your location is as safe and comfortable as possible, then you’ll need to think carefully about the guidelines you should follow when installing wheelchair support.
From ensuring that you have a non-slip surface to keep tires on track, to carefully measuring the gradient on your ramp, there are many different things a hospital might need to think about to keep their patients as secure as possible on the path to recovery.
Calculating the Right Outdoor Ramp Gradient
One of the first and most important elements to think about when you’re installing wheelchair support is how steep the ramp should be. A lot of hospitals and other locations that offer care to those who suffer from mobility issues find that they ask for a ramp installation without any real knowledge of how long the ramp should be to ensure that the gradient isn’t too high.
After all, while you don’t want to take up too much space outside the front of your building with your new ramp, you also need to make sure that it’s easy and safe for people in wheelchairs to get into and out of your building. If the ramp is too steep, then you could risk people going too fast down the ramp, or being unable to push themselves up the ramp without the help of a nurse or a care provider.
As a rule, most manufacturers in the outdoor ramp space recommend that you should stick to a gradient that’s no steeper than a maximum of 1:12 for independent use. “Independent” use refers to ramps designed for people who manage or handle their own wheelchairs. On the other hand, 1:8 is the recommended gradient for those who have assisted-use for their wheelchairs.
Other Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
Once you’ve calculated the right gradient for your wheelchair support, you’ll need to think about some of the additional safety elements that determine whether a ramp will be approved as safe or not. For example, any ramp installed outside of your building should:
- Have a non-slip surface
- Be wide enough to ensure that patients can travel up and down easily, without discomfort.
- Be completely unobstructed
- Have a railing for people who need extra support, but don’t necessarily use a wheelchair
If you’re concerned that you don’t have enough information to install the right ramp for your facility, then you could consider speaking to an accessibility expert about your options. On the other hand, you could consider using a portable wheelchair ramp which can be put into action whenever someone needs help getting up and down the stairs to your building.
Obviously, a portable wheelchair ramp isn’t intended to be a long-term solution to accessibility, but it can be a great way to make sure that your patients, residents, and customers can enter your building when you don’t have a permanent ramp in place.
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