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Communication access and medical care

To slow the spread of COVID-19, many hospitals are now only allowing patients and medical staff in the hospital. This may mean that family, friends and in-person interpreters cannot be with you in the room. In addition, medical staff will likely be wearing more protective equipment or standing behind a barrier when they talk with you. This could make it very difficult to understand them. You still have the right to understand and make decisions about your own health, but you may need to approach communication access in different ways.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) worked with deaf and hard of hearing advocacy groups, attorneys and deaf medical professionals to develop guidance for communicating. They offer steps you can take to prepare for communication access if you need to go to the hospital. They also have suggestions for various apps and other communication tools. See the resources on the NAD's webpage Communicating with Medical Personnel During Coronavirus.

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