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September 2014

Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Customers with disabilities love to shop and spend money as much as anyone else. Taking advantage of the potential for your company and realizing what accommodations can be made to optimize your consumers’ spending is important. The suggestions below are simple and could be implemented immediately. Here are six simple disability friendly tips to implement into your business at almost no cost to you! Who doesn’t want to be more accessible and accommodating? 1. Make aisles, walkways and entrances wide enough and clutter-free. Not just for individuals who use a wheelchair, but more convenient for elderly individuals and families with strollers. 2. Offer Help. As an employee, you would ask a customer for help, right? Don’t get caught up on if you are being rude or not. An individual with disabilities wants good customer service too! 3. Accommodate different forms of communication. Not everyone communicates the same way. Some people need more time to process the information, or they might even use a communication device. Be patient. Teach your employees to wait and listen to their customers. 4. Ask the customer, not the companion. Never pre-


Guest Perspective INSIGHT

Is your business disability friendly?

Be patient. Teach your employees to wait and listen to their customers.

LIVING WELL: Focus On Healthcare & Wellness Services

Quality of health care in the Rockford Region Chase Cain Goldie B. Floberg Center

judge your customer’s ability. As an employee, you might be tempted to ask the companion who is with your customer for his or her input. It is important to remember the customer is the one who is spending! 5. Install tactile buttons at checkouts. These buttons are not that expensive and offer a higher level of understanding for your customers with visual impairments. After installing tactile buttons, it is also important to train your employees on how to use them. If used correctly, tactile buttons can increase customers’ independence and make them feel empowered. 6. Work for the customer, not the environment. We have all been in a checkout line where an individual can’t reach the counter or needs to ask his or her companion for assistance. As an employee, don’t get stuck behind your register or countertop. Walk around to the individual and accept their form of payment or order. This may take more time, but the increase in customer service potentially could help retain consumers. Chase Cain is development director at Goldie B. Floberg Center. The views expressed are those of Cain’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

High level of services already provided here We are lucky to live in an age and country with a health care system staffed by specialists with advanced training to diagnose and treat complex illnesses. With this depth of expertise, we are often referred to specialists from many different health systems and often out-of-state. Although that used to be standard, our own health care network has grown right here in Rockford, providing quality care without the drive. Rockford area’s health care community has expanded immensely over the last several decades. The network of unique specialists, who are trained at prestigious institutions from all around the country, has provided Rockford with quality health care and expertise usually reserved for university centers. The variety of care the Rockford area has to offer has increased dramatically. In 2012, the OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center for Cancer Care became one of only seven Illinois hospitals to be recognized by the quality oncology practice initiative certification program. Rockford Health System is home to the highest level Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and ranked nationally for orthopedic and spinal surgery. SwedishAmerican Health System is home to the Heart Hospital, the region’s only hospital devoted to hearts. Additionally, SwedishAmerican is a Top 100 Hospital. These are just a few of the many accolades these facilities have earned. In addition to growth, the quality of care in our region has expanded through developing partnerships with top tier medical institutions such as Mayo Clinic Care Network and UWHealth. These associations help give patients access to the best possible resources, both inside and outside, of Rockford. Other outreach efforts, such as the Rockford Health Council, encourage healthy lifestyles and promote a stronger community. We have three health care systems all providing their own expertise to the patients, a unique network of independent specialists, and we are even training physicians right in our region. The University of Illinois College

Dr. Fred A. Sweet

of Medicine at Rockford Spine Center Rockford, a 20-acre medical teaching facility, is recognized as one of the country’s best medical schools. Its diverse student body of 1,351 students hail from a wide variety of cultural and economic backgrounds. This diversity adds to the rich educational experience that is the College of Medicine.

Great Place to Achieve Health Goals So what does this quality of care mean? Quantifying and improving the quality of health is increasingly important in American medicine. The use of quality measurement helps strengthen accountability and supports performance initiatives at numerous levels. One such tool is the Illinois Hospital Report Card, which rates all three of our local hospitals at 98 percent or higher, incorporating characteristics such as safety, in-patient services, patient satisfaction and service offerings. It is said you are the company you keep. When we set out to create a comprehensive spine care facility, we could have gone anywhere. We chose Rockford. We recognize the high level of health care services already provided here and the unique opportunity to become part of an excellent health care network. The community has welcomed us and allowed us to put our training to work, giving people their lives back. There is much discussion lately about transforming Rockford, especially as it relates to the health of its citizens. I think we should be proud of the fact that there is not a better place to achieve health goals. Rockford residents have access to some of the nation’s best physicians and facilities that are ranked by leading organizations. Dr. Fred Sweet is a fellowship-trained, nationally recognized spine surgeon with the Rockford Spine Center. The views expressed are those of Dr. Sweet’s and do not necessarily represent those of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce.

September Voice 2014  

September Voice 2014