Keep working: Access Israel's projects during the Coronavirus Crisis to help people with disabilities

The Coronavirus situation is a new and scary reality for all of us and we are all trying to overcome the challenges resulting from this difficult situation. Many families are in quarantine and new regulations are implemented daily to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading further. These regulations restrict us all, but for people with disabilities and the elderly this situation is even more severe, isolating, and challengin
26/03/2020
 
 
A disabled person in a wheelchair with a mask in f

 While we all turn to online and remote services, not all people with disabilities and elderly can use them due to a lack of accessibility, knowledge or abilities, so they become even more isolated. Many feel alone, overwhelmed and are dependent on others for almost everything.

Access Israel focuses its projects now to help people with disabilities and the elderly that are in quarantine and to make sure that they, and their needs, are not forgotten during this crisis.

Therefore, Access Israel created different projects to help people with disabilities and the elderly during the Coronavirus situation, such as:

 

Accessibility in health services

The health services do their best to treat people during this emergency situation. However, due to the speed of the development, decisions made and the lack of knowledge; the needs of people with disabilities are often forgotten. This results in services (remote and on-site) that are not accessible for people with disabilities and the elderly, who are vulnerable to this virus. We use our experience in conducting accessibility trainings for service providers by creating:

a)      Guidelines in Hebrew and English on accessibility in health facilities both physically and service-wise, including practical tips and tools.

b)      A checklist for "does/don't" to provide accessible healthcare services.

c)      Remote online training for the medical staff on how to help and communicate with people with different disabilities in the form of short, professional virtual trainings and videos adapted to the challenges faced during the coronavirus crisis.

d)      Brochures for the medical staff with tips and tools on how to help patients with disabilities.

e)      Informational material for patients with disabilities and the elderly in various accessible formats. (braille, audio formats, easy language, sign language etc.)

 

Accessibility by the Police & Home Front Command during the Coronavirus crisis.  
Access Israel consults and trains the Israeli Police, who have to enforce the regulations set by the government, to be accessible during this crisis. They need the knowledge and tools on how to approach people with disabilities in an accessible and inclusive way, a lack of such can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings. We use our experience working with the police and emergency services to ensure that all the facilities and services are accessible for all by providing:

a)      Guidelines in Hebrew and English to ensure police and emergency services are accessible both physically and service-wise, including tips on recognizing the different disabilities and their needs, how to communicate, assist and behave accordingly in situations encountered in this crisis.

b)      A checklist on "does/don't" for the police and emergency services to be accessible.

c)      Remote online training for police and emergency service providers on how to help and communicate with people with different disabilities in the form of short, professional virtual trainings and videos that are adapted to the coronavirus situation.

d)      Brochures for the police and emergency service providers with tips and tools on how to help people with disabilities and the elderly.

e)      Informational material for the elderly and people with disabilities in various accessible formats.

 

Access Israel's Virtual Help Center is one of the most popular websites in Israel for people with disabilities and the elderly which includes information, links to relevant service providers and accessibility suppliers as well as a help center for accessibility complaints; that answers yearly more than 1,500 requests via email, telephone or Whatsapp. During the Coronavirus crisis the centre assists people with disabilities and elderly that reach out and need help.

 

Facebook Accessibility Content page for isolated people with disabilities and elderly, with videos of artists (famous Israeli singers, chefs, stand up performers, lecturers etc.) that are accessible for all kind of disabilities. This is a partnership with Facebook Israel that develops and advertises the page.

 

Training videos for people with disabilities and elderly to inform them about their accessibility rights and teach them how to use the remote services available and used during the Coronavirus crisis by organizations. We will address questions such as how to use chats, get information in accessible formats, receive sign language interpreters, regulations on entering facilities with service animal etc.

Weekly Online Accessibility Courses for service providers on providing accessible services for people with disabilities in the virtual channels used during the crisis.

 

"Help your neighbor": An advertising campaign asking volunteers to check if they have lonely neighbours with disabilities or elderly that might need help during this crisis. For example, by checking in, shopping for them, do calls, buying medicine etc. Access Israel trains the volunteers to communicate and help in an accessible manner.

 

Evacuation Guidelines on evacuating people with disabilities if needed.

 

Conduct accessibility surveys and mysterious customer surveys to evaluate the accessibility of the services given remotely by organizations during the crisis and improve them if needed.

 

Create and publish emergency online content for the quarantine time for people with and without disabilities, focusing on accessibility and inclusion.

 

An accessible broadcast studio.

 

If you would like to donate to any of these projects, please click here or contact:

k.sharon@aisrael.org

 

 

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