The International Day of Persons with Disabilities—not to be confused with National Disability Day—is celebrated every year on December 3rd. So, what does the 3rd of December mean? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the purpose of this internationally recognized day is to promote the well-being and rights of people with disabilities at every level of society and to raise awareness regarding the situation of people with disabilities in all aspects of life—including healthcare.
For healthcare facilities and individual clinicians, this International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an excellent opportunity to promote inclusion in the workplace and take strides toward promoting the rights of both patients and healthcare staff with disabilities.
History of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) was designated by the United Nations (UN) in 1992 to promote a greater awareness of issues surrounding disability and generate support for the well-being, dignity, and rights of people with disabilities. Always guided by this general purpose, the UN chooses a different theme for this day each year and organizes events to promote the goal of disability inclusion.
What's the Theme of the 2022 IDPD?
This year, the theme of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.” Under this theme, on Monday, December 5, 2022, from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (EDT) via Zoom, the UN will be covering three interactive dialogues on the following topics:
- Innovation for disability-inclusive development in employment: This dialogue will discuss the relationship between employment and the knowledge and skills required for people to access employment in a rapidly changing technological landscape, as well as how assistive technologies can increase access to employment and be integrated into the workplace.
- Innovation for disability-inclusive development in reducing inequality: This dialogue will address practical tools, innovations, and good practices to reduce inequalities in disability-inclusive public and private sectors interested in promoting diversity in the workplace.
- Innovation for disability-inclusive development in sports: Discussing inclusion in sports is significant since it is a sector in which innovation, employment, and equity come together.
Click here to register for this event today.
December 3rd - International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD): How to Celebrate It in the Workplace?
Celebrating this day in the workplace should be about promoting positive and meaningful change. In order to achieve this goal, here are some ideas for activities to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities:
Disability-Inclusion Training for Staff
Promoting awareness is the first step toward meaningful change. An informative training session can reduce unconscious bias and misinformation among all staff members and validate the feelings and experiences of disabled staff. Furthermore, these intangible benefits can also translate into important measurable changes, such as improved customer service and employee satisfaction ratings and a reduced risk of legal implications associated with unfair treatment of both patients and staff.
Recognizing and Valuing Neurodiversity in the Workplace
No two people are the same, but most of the population thinks, learns, processes information, perceives the world, and interacts similarly. This majority of the population is referred to as neurotypical. However, up to 15 to 20 percent of the US population identifies as neurodivergent. In other words, it is almost a given that at least one staff member in any given unit or department is neurodivergent. Neurodivergent people may have one or more of the following conditions:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health conditions
- Learning disabilities, such as dyslexia
- Other intellectual and developmental disabilities
Now that we are at least aware of the fact that there is neurodiversity in the workplace, we can move on to ideas for valuing and taking advantage of that diversity. The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) states that neurodivergent workers often have many of the following skills and talents:
- Creativity and innovation
- New approaches to problem-solving
- High levels of concentration
- High levels of accuracy and ability to detect errors
- Strong recall of information and detailed factual knowledge
- Reliability and persistence
- Ability to excel at routine or repetitive work
As we can see, promoting inclusion in the workplace can benefit healthcare facilities, staff, and patients alike. In conclusion, neurotypical is not necessarily better, so whether you are a hospital human resources manager or a charge nurse, try to think outside the box when hiring new staff or assigning tasks.
For more on neurodiversity, read our articles on diversity in nurses’ personality profiles and the best nursing jobs and specialties for introverts.
The Need for Digital Accessibility As Well As Disability-Inclusive Infrastructure
All hospitals and other healthcare facilities are wheelchair accessible, but most US hospitals still don’t meet international standards for digital accessibility, leaving people with disabilities at a disadvantage. Digital accessibility implies designing inclusive web page content for people with visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities—a sector of the population that constitutes nearly one in four people in the United States.
“There isn’t a health care facility in the country that would leave its main entrance without an accessible physical entrance, yet we found more work needs to be done to ensure equitable entry through the facility’s digital front door,” stated Amanda Krupa, director of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Foundation.
In conjunction with the AHIMA Foundation, Mathematica offers the following recommendations to help hospitals make their websites more inclusive:
- Hospitals can carry out internal audits using free evaluation tools available online to identify potential errors that require human investigation.
- Hospitals can hire and train full-time employees dedicated to ensuring digital accessibility.
- Hospitals can promote external and internal collaboration. Internally, administration, management, and operations can collaborate to address the root causes of website issues. Externally, hospitals can collaborate with community advocacy groups, local centers for independent living, and Americans with Disabilities Act regional centers to involve the disability community in developing solutions.
Ready to Celebrate the International Day of People with Disability This 2022?
Whether you work in management or as a staff nurse, don’t let this International Day of People with Disability pass without taking steps toward greater disability inclusion in your healthcare facility. These steps might take the form of policy changes, or they simply may be recognizing a coworker’s special talents. Regardless of the scope of the action, we congratulate you for your efforts. Cheers to every healthcare facility and clinician working toward greater inclusion this International Day of People with Disabilities!
For those who are new to Nursa, our PRN nurse staffing app helps connect facilities and nurses directly, filling essential nursing shifts throughout the United States every day. Download our healthcare staffing app today!