CommunicationFIRST has prepared a COVID-19 Communication Rights Toolkit, recognizing that our population—people who face significant barriers being understood with speech and accessing effective communication supports in the best of times—is likely to face even greater barriers to accessing our necessary communication supports, given many hospital policies barring family members and other support people from accompanying or visiting infected patients. Despite laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in health care settings, our population is also likely to be some of the first to be subject to "rationing" or "triage" policies, or denied the dignity of even being asked to consent to different treatment.
If you are a person (or a family member or support person of such a person) who requires communication supports even while healthy, we encourage you to take some time NOW to become familiar with your legal rights to access your necessary communication supports, prepare a personalized Communication Accommodations Request Form, and prepare a kit with a variety of communication tools that you might need if you are hospitalized and do not have direct access to the usual people who support your communication.
Access the COVID-19 Communication Rights Toolkit here: https://communicationfirst.org/covid-19/
We are working to produce this toolkit in languages besides English. If you know of anyone who would like to volunteer to assist with translations, please let us know by emailing [email protected]. Thank you!
(Note that this toolkit addresses United States law only and thus is designed for patients who are hospitalized in the US.)