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Safeguard Against Disability Discrimination During COVID-19

Including individuals with disabilities in the COVID-19 response to ensure equitable care


  • Inform key medical personnel immediately that individuals with disabilities have equal rights to COVID-19 testing and treatment.
  • Make equitable decisions to ensure that allocation of COVID-19 resources, supplies, and care are not based on inaccurate assumptions about life with a disability.
  • Provide accommodations to make sure all individuals can access COVID-19 testing and treatment.  This requirement includes accommodations for behavioral, intellectual, or physical disabilities that may impact someone’s ability to comply during testing and treatment.


  • When communicating with individuals with disabilities:
    • Talk directly to them.
    • Ask permission before speaking with their caregivers, if possible.
    • Ask the caregiver for assistance if you need help communicating with a patient.
    • Use plain language to tell individuals and caregivers about COVID-19 test results and anticipated procedures.
    • Keep in mind that you may have difficulty understanding the patient, however, in most cases they understand you.
  • Make these accommodations:
    • Allow a caregiver to go with a patient to ensure adequate support for decision-making and treatment.
    • Provide ramps and rooms with enough access for a wheelchair.
    • Provide qualified interpreter services for the deaf or hard of hearing.
    • Use prompts, such as picture cues, for those with limited use of verbal communication.
    • Provide the time needed for individuals to speak, respond, and understand.

View the full flyer here.