Planning for Communication Access During a Healthcare Crisis

Chalkboard with "Plan" written and underlined

Communication access in healthcare is a right under the ADA.

With the current COVID-19 crisis, communication access is increasingly needed, and simultaneously strained. Patient isolation requirements, face masks, and limited visitor policies can leave those with communication needs without communication access.

As a patient, there are many things you can do to prepare in the case of a hospitalization related, or unrelated, to COVID-19. Now is a good time to make a PLAN:

  • Prepare
  • Let people know
  • Advocate
  • Notify your team
Close-up shot of a person writing in a notebook.


Prepare a written document that outlines what your communication access needs are in the case that you’re hospitalized.

Research and write down several communication access providers that you would prefer to use during your hospitalization. Write down the company’s name, phone number, and email address. Have a copy of this and provide it to your family, caregivers, and/or healthcare personnel.

Back shot of young woman with her arm around an elderly woman

Let People Know

Notify close family members who may be involved in your care of your communication access needs and your plan.

You should also notify your healthcare provider of your communication needs if they are not already aware. Your healthcare provider should be able to put a note in your medical record that relays your communication needs to anyone who opens your medical record.

Doctor and other healthcare professionals meeting with a woman


You have the right to full communication access under the ADA, and you should always advocate for yourself whenever possible.

In the case of hospitalization, or in the case that you cannot advocate for yourself, choose a family member, friend, or caregiver that can advocate for you and your communication needs. Care Captions is always available to advocate for your needs as well!

Paper doll cutouts standing in a circle holding hands

Notify Your Team

If you are sick and planning to go to the emergency room or doctor, notify the emergency room or your healthcare provider, or have your advocate notify them as soon as possible.

The sooner your healthcare provider can prepare to accommodate your communication access needs, the better they can serve you.

Care Captions is here to advocate for your needs and make sure you get the best care possible.

Contact us here if we can be of any assistance.

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