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Preparing for Emergencies for Communication Device Users

If you use a communication device and end up in the emergency room, you still have your communication and other civil rights. Hospitals, as well as other healthcare facilities, still have to meet your communication needs at all times, which can be even more important when you are hospitalized. These rights include supports to:

  • communicate your symptoms and medical history
  • understand the risks involved and all options available to you
  • ask questions so that you understand your treatment and recommendations
  • provide or deny consent

If you’re able to print out the form and fill it out in advance, that is the easiest way to advocate for yourself so you have access to all the communication support you need. If you are not able to print it out in advance, bringing up the website will help you, as you can point out the laws that protect your communication rights without having to memorize them.

Communication First’s website section on Covid-19 also includes a section with Legal References and Links. The article is available in English, Spanish, and simplified Chinese. It includes sections from the Americans with Disabilities Act, sections from the Rehabilitation Act about health care facilities, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which requires health programs to give equal treatment regardless of disability.