The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) program works to improve accessibility in Canada so that citizens have access to safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces.
Facilities are rated on their level of meaningful access for persons with vision, hearing and mobility disabilities. An overall score is given to a facility based on a number of factors, including accessible entrances and parking, touchless doors, wayfinding and signage, and additional features.
To achieve a gold-level ranking, facilities must score higher than 80 per cent – Sunny Hill Health Centre scored an impressive 88 per cent.
“This certification is a particularly meaningful achievement for Sunny Hill,” says Christy Hay, executive director, Clinical Operations, BC Children’s Hospital. “Because of the specialized services we provide to a unique patient population, it’s important that our facility is accessible for every child and family who visits us.”
“Early the design phase of the Sunny Hill project, the entire redevelopment team committed to creating a space built upon universal accessibility principles,” says Kim Tully, program manager, Neuromotor Program & Outreach Services, Sunny Hill Health Centre. “We wanted to be a centre of excellence, where others could come and see what accessibility can look and feel like in a pediatric care setting.”
Based on the scorecard from the RHFAC, Sunny Hill scored big with good vehicle accessibility options, such as having accessible parking at the main entrance, along with a well-marked passenger drop-off zone and complimentary valet parking for patients and visitors.
Other successful features include sensor-controlled, power-operated doors for easy access, and plenty of accessible spaces and amenities. From spacious exam and diagnostic rooms, to a variety of kitchen spaces and waiting areas, to the gymnasium and swimming pool, Sunny Hill was designed right from the start to be an accessible and inclusive health care facility.
“Going through the Rick Hansen Foundation certification process has really helped me appreciate what is required to help anyone with extra needs or challenges navigate and use spaces,” says Tully. “And to achieve the gold standard at Sunny Hill has been an amazing accomplishment for all involved.”