As you probably know, the ADA is the acronym for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Among many other things, the ADA provides design standards to ensure accessibility to public entities.
The operative word is public: office buildings, libraries, courthouses and other government buildings, restaurants, and shopping centers. ADA standards help create spaces designed to be used by the largest portion of the disabled population, regardless of the disability. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach. Hence buildings have ramps, wide halls, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, and features for the visually and hearing impaired.
Similarly, universal design is the “design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” Again, universal design is for facilities, workplaces, and other public spaces.
Neither standard applies to residences. If they did, halls would be freakishly wide and lined with handrails and every bathroom would be wheelchair accessible.
It’s fine to use contractors with these certifications, but it’s not mandatory. These understand how to build and renovate to accommodate disabilities. But they are not necessarily used to adapting a single home for a single worker with specific functional limitations.
Workers’ comp adaptive housing solutions are extremely customized. At least, they should be. To that end, ATF Medical pairs an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) Occupational Therapist (OT), and/or a Certified Environmental Access Consultant (C.E.A.C.) with the contractor. These experts take a clinical approach to combining rehab technology with adaptive housing solutions.
Each worker is different. Each condition is different, and each adaptive housing solution is different.
Our Executive Director/Rehab Technology Erin Zablocki, CDME, Master C.E.A.C., ECHM is an expert in adaptive housing solutions and would be happy to answer your questions about the ADA or clinically driven home modifications. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org