10 months ago

Inform issue 24 – Autumn 2018

  • Text
  • Survivors
  • Rehabilitation
  • Continence
  • Chronic
  • Autumn
  • Ndis
  • Inform
  • Disability
  • Australia
  • Polio
In this issue of Inform, we celebrate achievements. We follow Independence Australia's residential client Peter as he looks back on some of the adventures he has had along the way of 50 years as a wheelchair user.

Travel Have disability,

Travel Have disability, will travel This November 2014 article is reproduced with permission from People with disability take holidays just like everyone else, but they often face extra obstacles along the way. We look at the challenges and the how-to of accessible travel, including booking and boarding flights and airport security. Airlines and airports are bound by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to provide services for people with disability. Trained staff should be able to assist with: • getting around the airport • handling baggage • getting on and off the plane • getting to and from the plane toilet (in the case of a semi-ambulant person) • opening packages and identifying food on board the plane • delivering safety briefings in a way that all passengers can understand. Staff are not expected to assist with eating, administering medication, using the toilet or lifting or carrying a passenger. 22 Independence Australia

Know your needs Flying with a disability takes some forward planning. You should explain your needs to airline staff when you book your flight. Will you: • be travelling alone or with a carer? • need help navigating the airport? • need help with baggage and boarding? • be able to use the toilet on the plane? • be able to understand safety briefings and instructions from staff? (Some airlines have braille or large-print books available). "When you have a disability, your needs change," says Australian wheelchair rugby Paralympic gold medallist Nazim Erdem. "The main concerns are: what do I do if I need to use the toilet? What do I do if I have a bowel or bladder accident? Will I have enough room to do pressure relief so I don't get a pressure sore? But airline staff are mostly aware of this and are very helpful." Plane accessibility Not all planes board via an aerobridge. If you can't manage steps, let the airline know in advance, as you may need to use a lift. Some international budget airlines, such as Tiger, charge a fee. If you're unable to walk to your seat, you can ask for an aisle chair a collapsible wheelchair narrow enough to travel along the aisle. Most planes have some seats with adjustable armrests, so you can move from the chair into your seat. "People with disabilities are first on, last off," says Nazim. "Airlines usually like me seated on the aisle seat but this can be a problem if other passengers need to climb over me to get to their seat or use the toilet." In April 2014 a man with multiple sclerosis was unable to board a domestic Jetstar flight after checkin staff told him his wife would have to lift him into his seat without help from cabin crew because of health and safety concerns. Unlike many Qantas and Virgin services between major Australian cities, which offer an electric hoist, Jetstar only provides a 'slide board'. Toilets Toilets on planes are usually tiny, so access can be a problem for many people. Some planes offer a privacy curtain so the door can be left open while a carer assists. The 747-300s (now phased out in Australia but still in operation overseas) and the 767-200s and 767-300s have outward-opening doors for easier access. Some of the newer wide-bodied jets, like the A380 and the 747-400 include an accessible toilet. If you plan to board the plane using an aisle wheelchair, check with staff to make sure it will be available during the flight to access the toilet. Wheelchairs If you're travelling with a wheelchair, almost all airlines will ask you to check it in. Some budget airlines won't carry electric wheelchairs at all, and those that do may disconnect the battery and carry it separately. In May 2014, Air Asia refused to check in a Western Australian man's electric wheelchair on a flight to Bali. The airline's policy prevents the carriage of battery-operated wheelchairs. Even after the man offered to remove the battery and leave it behind, he was told the chair exceeded the maximum weight limit. Inform Autumn 2018 23