The Autistic Self Advocacy Network and over a hundred national, state and local advocacy organizations have issued a letter urging governors and hospital administrators to allow supporters to accompany hospitalized people with disabilities.
Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, some hospitals and doctors’ offices have stopped allowing people with disabilities to be accompanied by the supporters we need while we receive health care. These unfair and illegal policies have made it harder for people with disabilities to get quality health care. At the same time, hospitals are allowing supporters to accompany other patients, including children and people giving birth.
Some states have also issued guidance to hospitals, telling them to limit who comes in and out of the hospitals. While some visitor limits are important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it’s important that states update their guidance to allow exceptions for all people with disabilities who need supports, consistent with the safety guidelines that hospitals apply to other supporters.
Without the right supports, people with disabilities may not be able to safely get care in a hospital or doctor’s office. We may have trouble communicating, understanding what is happening, or even being able to do basic things like eat or use the bathroom.
The letter, written by ASAN and sponsored by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, received support from a large number of disability advocacy organizations. Advocates are encouraged to share it with their governors and local hospital administrators.
For more information, please contact Sam Crane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN was created to serve as a national grassroots disability rights organization for the autistic community run by and for autistic Americans, advocating for systems change and ensuring that the voices of autistic people are heard in policy debates and the halls of power. Our staff work to educate communities, support self-advocacy in all its forms, and improve public perceptions of autism. ASAN’s members and supporters include autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends.