Accessibility Issues

Interior Doorways

As with entrance doors, interior doors should be as wide as possible to allow for easy navigation through the doorway. Interior doors in houses are normally not as wide as entrance doors but there is something that can be done to make interior doorways more accessible.

Offset Hinges

When a door is open, the thickness of the door blocks a small portion (1 ½" to 2") of the doorway thus in effect narrowing the door frame by that amount. A fix for this situation is a product known as offset hinges, are available at many hardware and home health care stores. These offset hinges replace the existing hinges on the door and when the door is opened it will swing totally out of the door frame for wider clearance. Offset hinges are a low cost option for making doorways more accessible.

Door Swing

While interior doors don't normally have thresholds to deal with the wheelchair user still has to contend with the door swing. Often opening and closing the door will require some jockeying back and forth of a wheelchair, whether power or manual. One very low cost solution is to attach a string or small rope to the doorknob which the wheelchair user can pull on to open or close the door from a distance.

Pocket Doors

While expensive to install, and not always practical, in an existing house pocket doors can often make doorways a non-issue. Pocket doors slide sideways into the wall beside the doorway to allow for total clearance through the doorway and there is no door swing to contend with. Anyone designing a new construction for a wheelchair user should seriously consider pocket doors for interior use. The cost is not excessive if they are incorporated into a new building or major reconstruction.

Door Handles

Conventional round door knobs, which are turned to open a door, are almost impossible to manage for people with hand or arm use limitations. Many home health care stores offer products which either make gripping the knob easier or provide a lever in order to turn the knob without having to rotate one's wrist. While these products generally will solve the problem, it's isn't terribly expensive to actually go to a hardware store and purchase lever type doorknobs.

Home Accessibility Links

Notice: Information on the web site is for informational purposes only and not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by physicians, therapists or other medical professionals. All information is general in nature and may not necessarily apply to everyone as individual needs may vary. For more information see our terms.

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