Hospital Visitation Rights
DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC,
HOSPITALS ACROSS THE NATION
ARE PROHIBITING VISITORS…
… while this policy is sound as an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus, it presents hardships to a vulnerable population -- people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, fragile X syndrome, and other complex neurodevelopmental conditions associated with significant cognitive impairment).
Many such individuals have limited verbal communication skills, difficulties understanding consent, care plans, and treatment protocols, experience situational trauma with unfamiliar settings, have low stress thresholds, and become anxious when separated from known family members, friends, or staff. These limitations may add to care challenges when their agency's 'Direct Support Professional' (paid caregiver) or family member/caregiver is prohibited from “in-hospital” support.
'No Visitors' policies may also result in detrimental outcomes because vital bio-psycho-social information is not conveyed adequately to medical staff. Agency personnel and family caregivers who have this type of information can provide it stat when on-site in the patient’s room or floor. They also can provide needed emotional support during a difficult situation. The NDSS has developed a useful guide for families facing this situation
Join the NTG in recommending that states and hospitals, in accord with the Americans with Disabilities Act, provide reasonable accommodations in their visitor policies for persons who need support from known and acknowledged support persons (such as family, designated support personnel -- such as direct support professionals, or other designated caregivers). Such accommodations would include permitting in-room presence and providing PPEs for authorized designated visitors. Check our 'honor roll' of states that have issued updated policies.