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    Traveling with a child is never easy. Traveling with a child in a wheelchair is an extra challenge. The first time Leah flew on an airplane, she was six months old, almost a year before she was diagnosed. We have always been a traveling family and once she was diagnosed, we were both hopeful and determined that it wouldn’t hold us back.

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  • This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  DeAnn R 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

    • Author
    • #18978
       Kevin Schaefer 

      Hey everyone, here’s my latest column: https://smanewstoday.com/2019/05/21/accessible-room-hotel-vacation-plans/.

      I mentioned my recent vacation fiasco about a week ago, but I expanded on it here. Hopefully you will find it entertaining, as I always try to inject humor when writing about stressful situations.

      Has anyone else run into situations like this before?

    • #18982
       Ryan Berhar 

      There never seems to even be roll-in showers in hotels around here. That is the most difficult part about traveling for me. When I’m up in my chair during the day, things are fine. But when it comes to sleeping, getting up, showered etcetera, everything is super makeshift, which is super stressful. Glad you finally found a workable room.

    • #18986
       DeAnn R 

      We rarely stay at hotels anymore. Typically I forgo the roll-in shower unless it’s an extended trip. We’ve been known to just drive through the night because the room we thought was on the ground floor was not and of course nothing else is available. We have the most trouble with those solid blocks under the bed so it’s difficult to use the Hoyer. It really can put a damper on a trip.

    • #19039
       Katie Napiwocki 

      Hi, all! I wanted to offer a bit of advice regarding hotel room accessibility. This winter, I spoke with a manager at one of the Hilton hotels here in Wisconsin. I explained the obstacles that travelers often face when they use a hoyer/transfer lift and the bed is on a platform rather than an open frame. She explained to me that she has worked with Hilton for many years, and she’s always noticed that the roll-in shower rooms usually have open-frame beds in them, even if the other beds in the regular rooms are on “platforms”. She wasn’t sure if she could find specific policies to reference for this topic or if it was more of a loose standard that Hilton has been trying to establish with their newly built and remodeled hotels, but she intended to look into it further and provide me with more information.

      Within the past 10 years or so, we’ve found the designated roll-in shower rooms at Hilton hotels to generally work well with my hoyer lift (in a few different states, too). Recently, we’ve found the Home2 Suites hotels to be quite accessible and workable with my shower chair and hoyer lift (again, specifically the roll-in shower rooms). I’m not sure if this could vary depending on the specific hotel, so I always call prior to booking a room, and again right before we arrive/travel. But, we’ve certainly experienced our share of travel horror stories over the years, similar to what Kevin describes in his great column.

      One other tip… For awhile, I struggled with calling around to different hotels for confirmation of the bed situation. When I say, “can you please tell me if there are platform beds or open-frame beds in the roll-in shower rooms?”, I’ve found that there’s often a disconnect between my situation with a hoyer lift, and what I try to describe to the hotel employee on the phone — they’re sometimes confused about what I’m trying to ask. The best way I’ve figured out to explain this goes something like this: “Hi, I use a wheelchair and a transfer lift to help me get into and out of bed. The lift must be able to roll underneath the bed completely, so I can’t use a platform bed. Can you please tell me if the beds, specifically in the roll-in shower accessible rooms, are open underneath? For example, if you were to kneel down and look underneath the bed, are you able to see clearly through to the other side?” This usually helps them to better envision what it is that I’m asking. From there, it’s always a mixed bag of responses depending on who I speak with. Sometimes, I’m transferred to a more experienced employee or someone from maintenance. Sometimes, they need to go check the rooms and call me back.

      Most people have developed their own routine when they travel and book lodging, so please feel free to take my advice or leave it. 🙂

      I hope to see improvements in accessible lodging options for people with mobility challenges. There always seems to be such a small number of accessible roll-in shower rooms offered at hotels, and they’re often scarce at other types of lodging facilities like B&Bs.

      I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

      • #19069
         DeAnn R 

        Great suggestions Katie!

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