During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, more and more deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind people are concerned about communicating with doctors, nurses, and others at the hospital. Many hospitals and medical facilities are changing their policies to create a safer environment which may impact your access — now, many hospitals will not allow in-person interpreters, family members, or visitors to come into the hospital. You may be alone for a long time, depending on how severe your case is. Doctors and nurses wear masks and may talk with you from behind a window or curtain. However, you still have the right to decide your care.
A coalition of deaf and hard of hearing consumer advocacy organizations, deaf doctors, and other experts worked together to provide special guidelines for deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind people and medical personnel to use during the coronavirus pandemic.
Both guidelines were developed by deaf and hard of hearing groups, deaf doctors, and other experts:
- Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA)*
- Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss
- Chad Ruffin, M.D., Proliance ENT at Minor & James Surgical Specialists
- Christopher J. Moreland, M.D., MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio
- Gallaudet University Technology Access Program/Deaf Hard of Hearing Technology RERC
- Gallaudet University Deaf Health Communication and Quality of Life Center
- Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)*
- Jim House – TDI Board of Directors; and Disability Integration Manager for the WA Coalition on Inclusive Emergency Planning
- Michael McKee, M.D., MPH, Associate Professor of Family Medicine, University of Michigan
- National Association of the Deaf (NAD)*
- Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI)*
- Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic at Colorado Law (counsel to TDI)
- Rob Roth, (retired) executive director for non-profit social service agencies serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities
- Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Ph.D., Bioethicist & Philosopher, Gallaudet University
(*consumer advocacy groups that advocate for the rights of deaf and hard of hearing people.)
If you have any concerns, questions, or wish to discuss this further with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN), email [email protected].