Why ADA Nursing Home Signs Are Necessary
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ADA compliance in health-care establishments is both a logistical and legal necessity, which is why it’s so important to have ADA nursing home signs installed in these facilities.
Organizations that serve the aging population have a responsibility to not only uphold ADA rules but also provide residents with features that allow them to navigate life with ease.
Whether your own facility is in need of new signage or you’re working with a client in this industry, it’s worth learning about the following:
- Why ADA nursing home signs and other accessibility features are required
- How these features benefit residents
Let’s get started…
How Does the ADA Affect Nursing Homes?
The ADA, which was signed into law in 1990 to prevent discrimination against those with disabilities, is divided into five sections (or titles). Title II of the ADA applies to hospitals, clinics, senior living facilities, and other health-care services operated by the government; Title III of the ADA applies to those entities that are privately owned and operated.
Most establishments that provide housing and care to older adults fall under Title III of the ADA.
As such, accessibility features in nursing homes must meet certain specifications, which can be found in the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. For example…
- Hallways – Hallways must provide adequate space to accommodate those in wheelchairs. The minimum hallway width is 36 inches.
- Doorways – Doorway openings should have a clear width of between 32 inches (minimum) and 48 inches (maximum).
- Lighting – Lighting should be sufficiently bright enough for individuals to see. Ceiling fixtures must allow for at least 80 inches of clear headroom in all walkways and hallways.
- Restrooms – Restrooms need to have accessible stalls and clear floor spaces for each fixture. Each space must be clear by at least 30 inches by 48 inches so that wheelchair-bound individuals can rotate without issue.
- Handrails – Handrails must be provided on both sides of stairs and ramps. These handrails should be continuous within the full length of each stair flight or ramp run.
- Elevators – Elevators must have a minimum door width of 36 inches. The depth of the car must be at least 51 inches, and the width must be at least 68 inches; if the elevator has center-opening doors, at least 80 inches are required. Additionally, call buttons and keypads must be within reach range.
And, of course, ADA nursing home signs are required as well.
Although ADA-compliant signs are necessary in all public facilities, they are especially important in areas where there tends to be a large congregation of people with disabilities. One such location is a nursing home, where there are many elderly people living with disabilities related to sight, mobility, hearing, and more.
What Elements Are Required for ADA Nursing Home Signs?
One major challenge that many mature adults have is reading signs from a distance. The ADA outlines specific standards for various elements of ADA signs to make them specifically readable for even visually impaired people.
- No glare. All ADA-compliant signs must have characters and backgrounds that are free from glare. Individuals with vision problems do not process these reflections very well, especially elderly people. If you go through a nursing home or assisted living facility, you will almost certainly not find any signs with a glare.
- High contrast. People who have vision problems struggle to discern dark characters on somewhat dark backgrounds, or light characters on light backgrounds. That’s why there needs to be a high level of contrast between backgrounds and characters so the signs are easily read from afar and by people who have vision problems. A contrast of roughly 70% between touchable lettering and background is recommended.
- Text standards. All fonts should be easy to read, not stylized, and put in sans serif or simple serif fonts with medium-weight strokes. Letters should be of an appropriate size based on the distance the reader is expected to be at when reading them. Typically, text should be placed in uppercase as well.
- Sign placement. There are specific instructions as to how high signs should be mounted and how far away from doorways they should be placed. For example, tactile characters on signs should be 48 inches (minimum) above the ground, measured from the baseline of the lowest tactile character, and 60 inches (maximum) above the ground, measured from the baseline of the highest tactile character.
Ultimately, the idea is to create and install ADA nursing home signs in a way that helps seniors maintain their independence as much as possible by providing them with easy-to-read signage that outlines important information.
What Are the Benefits of ADA Nursing Home Signs?
When ADA nursing home signs are installed throughout a facility, residents benefit in a number of ways.
- They’re able to navigate the establishment more easily, guided by the signage strategically placed throughout the building.
- They can identify their rooms and common areas quickly, which is helpful in boosting memory skills.
- They feel safe and secure knowing that their new home is set up for their convenience.
Further, ADA-compliant signage benefits administrators as well.
First, it allows them to give those in their care a greater sense of comfort and familiarity. This is especially important for new residents, as the transition into an elder care facility can be difficult. Second, it ensures that they won’t run into any noncompliance issues related to signage, which can otherwise result in fines or lawsuits.
ADA nursing home signs aren’t just necessary for upholding the law; they’re also crucial for organizations that seek to provide the greatest level of care to residents while still allowing them to maintain their independence.
Although purchasing and installing these signs should be a top priority, administrators may also want to consider adding features such as memory boxes. Combined with room number signs and personal trinkets, these boxes can be extremely helpful to those suffering from memory loss and/or visual degeneration.
For more information about ADA nursing home signs and memory aids, contact the team at Erie Custom Signs today. We will be happy to speak with you more about all of the specifications we follow in creating sign solutions for these facilities.
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