Providing Service to People with Disabilities

Client & Customer Accessible Service Standards

Providing Service to People with Disabilities

Bethesda House is committed to excellence in serving all clients and customers including people with disabilities.

Accessible client and customer service is not just about ramps or automatic door openers. It’s about understanding that people with disabilities may have different needs. This plan outlines how Bethesda House provides services to people with disabilities, being guided by the principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity.

Communication

Bethesda House staff and volunteers consider a person’s disability when communicating with them

We communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.

  • Our staff and volunteers know this is expected of them when they communicate with clients and customers with disabilities.

Assistive devices

Bethesda House allows assistive devices in our buildings, such as wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks, etc. An assistive device is defined as any piece of equipment a person with a disability uses to help them with daily living.

  • Our staff and volunteers are familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by clients and customers with disabilities while accessing our services. If they are not familiar with the assistive device a client or customer is using, they will make every effort to understand it so as to be able to provide service to that individual.

Service animals

Bethesda House welcomes the service animals accompanying people with disabilities, understanding that i) guide dogs are not the only type of service animals being used, and ii) service animals are used by individuals with “invisible” as well as “visible” disabilities.

  • Our staff and volunteers will endeavour to make all accommodations necessary to enable a person with disabilities have their service animal with them while on our premises.

Support persons

Bethesda House welcomes support people accompanying clients and customers with disabilities on our premises. We understand that a support person does not have to be a paid support worker. He or she can be a family member or a friend.

  • Our staff and volunteers will endeavour to make all accommodations necessary to enable a person with disabilities have their support person with them while on our premises. Support providers are expected to sign a Bethesda House Confidentiality Form when accessing the Shelter and the client service part of the Outreach Building.

Notice of temporary disruption

In the event of a disruption of service for clients and customers with disabilities, Bethesda House will make notification by way of a posted notice. For example, periodically accessibility features require repair or are temporarily out of service (e.g. an elevator or accessible washroom). When this happens, Bethesda House will let clients and customers know by posting a notice. This clearly posted notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated length of time (if possible to estimate) and a description of alternative arrangements. The notice will be placed at either the shelter or the Outreach Building, as applicable.

  • A staff will post a notice when our accessibility features is temporarily out of service.

Bethesda House invites feedback from clients and customers with disabilities.

A good way to learn about barriers that exist in Bethesda House is to collect comments from Bethesda House clients and customers with disabilities. We invite clients and customers to give feedback on how Bethesda House provides accessible service.

All feed-back is to be directed to the Executive Director, who will respond to the person providing the feed-back within 10 working days.

Clients and customers may provide this feedback by:

a)      Dropping written feedback into the suggestions boxes located at both the Bethesda House Shelter and Outreach locations.

b)      Providing written feed-back to the Shelter Services Manager, Outreach Services Manager, or General Manager to pass along to the Executive Director, or provide that written feedback directly to the Executive Director.

c)      Request a meeting with the Executive Director to verbally pass along feedback.

Written feedback may also be emailed (director_bethesda@rogers.com ) or faxed (905-623-6054)

Bethesda House will take all feed-back into serious consideration in our effort to provide high quality accessible services to clients and customers with disabilities. (Please Note: A complaint is considered different than feed-back. Complaints regarding the Bethesda House accessibility plan or its accessibility services are to be addressed according to the Bethesda House complaint procedure. Complaints must be submitted in writing t the Executive Director.)

Bethesda House’s accessibility standards are available to clients and customers. They are:

a)      Posted on bulletin boards at each location

b)      On the Bethesda House website (www.bethesdahouse.ca )

Clients and customers unable to access the bulletin board copies or the website may request

a)      A personal hardcopy (in large print if required)

b)      To have the plan read to them by a staff or volunteer

c)      To have the plan read to them in a language other than English

Bethesda House’s staff and volunteers are trained on the Bethesda House accessibility standards.

Bethesda House provides training to

a)      Shelter Services Manager, Outreach Services Manager, General Manager and Executive Director

b)      All direct service employees

c)      All volunteers

d)      Students (referred to in this plan as “volunteers”)

Training is provided to everyone upon acceptance into their position and annually thereafter.

Training includes:

a)      An introduction to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirement for a client/customer accessible service plan.

b)      The expectation to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities in a manner guided by the principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity.

c)      The expectation to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person in a manner that maximizes the individual’s use of those resources.

d)      How to use the Bethesda House equipment or devices available on-site (ie elevator) that may help with providing our services to people with disabilities

e)      What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing Bethesda House services (ie problem-solve, contact a Manager, etc.)

Staff training will be updated when changes are made to Bethesda Houser plan.

Modifications to this or other Bethesda House policies

Any Bethesda House policy that is found to not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.

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