In my case, the main issue for assessing the healthcare services is existing physical barriers. According to the statistics, about 50% of 340 public health care institutions in Lithuania are still inaccessible for wheelchair users like me, not to mention other types of disabilities. For example, my family doctor works on the second floor of the building without an elevator and it is very difficult to reach her when needed – most of the health counseling comes over the phone, especially during the times of COVID-19, but what quality of service is that?
I often face social challenges in healthcare settings as well. Unfortunately, many health care professionals still use the medical model when it comes to disability – the main aim for them is to ‘cure’ me and bring me as close to standard of a healthy individual as possible, instead of focusing on my personal well-being and quality of life. Less patronizing, more empathetic and human-based approach when it comes to persons with disabilities would be very much appreciated.