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Rockhampton Hospital project a win for Clients 

August 28, 2023
Man with a cane address an audience sitting in front of him.

When the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CQHHS) reached out to Guide Dogs for help regarding accessibility and wayfinding, our Client Services team were only too happy to come to their aid.

Guide Dogs Principal Advisor, Access and Engagement, Jeremy Hill, and Stakeholder Engagement Lead, Jonathan Hall, has worked collaboratively with the Rockhampton Hospital to conduct an environmental assessment of the hospital grounds and provide Human Guide training for staff, management and volunteers.

Jeremy said the environmental assessment focused on the main visitor and patient routes from the taxi drop-off zone to the eye clinic, pathology, and orthopaedic clinic.

“The hospital had received feedback from a patient with low vision that navigating the grounds, particularly when trying to access the eye clinic, was very challenging,” Jeremy said.

“Our role was to identify functional improvements to the hospital environment with the priority being to get clients and patients through to the eye clinic without hazards or navigational issues.”

Jeremy and Jonathan were able to make several recommendations that will make visiting the hospital so much easier for patients with low vision or blindness, including:

  • Defining one consistent wayfinding process (e.g., using colour or symbols) to help patients plan and follow a route within the hospital
  • Introducing high contrast doors and door mats to make it easier to find doorways and entrances
  • Reducing visual clutter and out-of-date directories on corridors, making sure signage is clear, concise, and easy to read and if prescribed, includes Braille and tactile information
  • Introducing tactile ground surface indicators to provide people with a ‘shoreline’ for navigating around furniture in busy areas such as the hospital café
  • Modifications to several staircases to make them more accessible for people with low vision

Guide Dogs also conducted some training workshops with staff and hospital volunteers to improve their understanding of how to properly guide people with low vision or blindness and how to recognize someone with low vision who has presented at the hospital.
“The hospital staff and volunteers were very enthusiastic to understand how they can better provide care and support to their patients with low vision or blindness,” Jonathan said.

The executive team at CQHHS have expressed their intent to continue engaging and improving across all sites within the region.
Guide Dogs are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Rockhampton Hospital and look forward to continuing to support them into the future.

A Orientation and Mobility Specialist from Guide Dogs Queensland, educating staff from Rockhampton hospital with tactile objects, canes and other mobility aids.
This project has been undertaken as part of our work as the Queensland State Government’s Peak Body for Vision Impairment.

As a Peak Body, Guide Dogs support people with vision loss or blindness by providing information, referral services, advocacy and community awareness raising.

For information and referrals regarding vision impairment, contact our friendly team on 3500 9060, email or visit our website.